Register Account

Login Help

ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 36
September 7, 2001


* +Get ready (again) for CORES!
* +Expedition 3 commander talks with Texas youngsters
* +California ARES team burns candle at both ends
* +Judge bans Florida CBer from owning radio gear
* +Vanity fee drops to $12 September 10
* +Jerry Hill, KH6HU, to coordinate "The Big Project"
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Sign up for September Emergency Communications Level I on-line course! 
    +CQ Contest publishes its final issue
     Allen B. Harbach, WA4DRU, SK
     Former ARRL HQ employee died of heart failure, not bee stings
     DXCC squared--the hard way!
     High-altitude balloon flight carried ham radio payload
     West Kiribati T30ES operation on the air
     K3RXK to be digital conference banquet speaker

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Get ready (again) for the FRN! Although the FCC has slipped the deadline
before, the Commission said this week that, starting December 3, 2001,
everyone doing business with the FCC--licensed or not--must obtain and use a
10-digit FCC Registration Number--or FRN. The FCC called the move "a first
step" toward streamlining fee collection and tracking. Many amateurs
registered with the Universal Licensing System (ULS) were assigned a
10-digit FRN by the Commission Registration System--or CORES--in a one-time
cross-registration last year and notified by mail. 

Details to implement CORES for the Amateur Service are still being worked
out. Steve Linn of the FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau said just
how CORES and ULS will work together remains up in the air. "CORES is not
replacing the ULS database," he explained, "but there are a lot of questions
as to how it is to be integrated." A final implementation with respect to
Amateur Radio is "yet to be determined," he said. Under the most likely
scenario, however, CORES registration will supplant ULS registration for
those who do not already have an FRN.

Those without an FRN will be required to register and provide one before
transacting business with the FCC, whether or not a fee is required. An
individual does not have to hold an FCC license to obtain an FRN. The
requirement to obtain one extends to applicants for an Amateur Radio license
as well as to anyone required to pay a fee to the FCC, such as those
applying for a vanity call sign. CORES registrants will be required to
supply a Taxpayer Identification Number--or TIN--typically a Social Security
Number (SSN) for an individual. The FCC says CORES information is not made

An FRN will not be needed to file comments in rulemaking proceedings.
Filings that do require an FRN but don't include one will be rejected. The
FCC has not yet proposed replacing the ULS Licensee Identification Number
with an FRN; many amateurs already have both, and both numbers appear in FCC
licensee records. The ULS continues to be available to new registrants.

The FCC began implementing CORES last year. The agency announced the
adoption of its new CORES/FRN rules on August 31 and detailed the
requirements in a Report and Order. 

In its Order, the FCC sounded almost apologetic for imposing yet another set
of numbers on licensees and applicants. "We realize that the manner in which
our electronic systems have developed has results in a multiplicity of
numbers, passwords and identifiers," the FCC conceded. The FCC said that
once various electronic filing systems--such as ULS--incorporate CORES and
FRN into their application process, "the need to maintain registration
information in multiple systems will be eliminated."

The FCC said CORES makes provision for the registration of foreign nationals
unable to obtain an SSN by providing the ability to register without one.
The FCC has required that club stations obtain an assigned TIN when
registering in the ULS. In an apparent about-face, the FCC's CORES Order
states that unincorporated radio clubs registering in CORES should use the
TIN/SSN of the license trustee. The ARRL has asked the FCC to clarify.

The on-line filing system and further information on CORES is available by
visiting the FCC CORES Web page,
<>;. A copy of the FCC R&O is
available on the ARRL Web site,


Youngsters at Seabrook Intermediate School in Texas got their new school
year off to a banner start by speaking with the International Space Station
via ham radio. The September 4 contact was carried out as part of the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station program. Crew Commander
Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, took the NA1SS microphone for the first of what's
hoped will be several school contacts during his crew's four-month stay.

Ten youngsters in grades six through eight from the school's Science Magnet
Program took part in the contact. Among other things, the students wanted to
know how life aboard the ISS compared with the space shuttle. 

"The space shuttle is fairly small," Culberton said, comparing it to "a
camper on the back of a pickup truck." The space station is huge in
comparison. "It's like night and day between the two," he said. "For living
in space, the space station is the way to go." Culbertson said he's enjoying
weightlessness aboard the ISS. 

One youngster wanted to know if the crew was able to shower aboard Space
Station Alpha. "We don't actually take showers," Culbertson explained. "That
would be pretty messy." He said the crew cleans up using a wash cloth and
hot water, plus special soap and shampoo that does not need to be rinsed off
but can just be wiped dry with a towel. 

"It's been a real pleasure talking with you guys," Culbertson said as he
signed off from NA1SS. The students reacted with loud applause.

Participating youngsters were enthusiastic about their ARISS experience.
"That was just so cool talking to people over 210 nautical miles straight
up," said Banks, a sixth grader. Seventh grader Adam, who hopes to become an
astronaut, called it "a very eye-opening experience." Savannah, another
sixth grader, said she hoped to get her ham ticket.

Coordinating the ARISS contact at the school was Bill Wood, W5OOD, with help
from the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (K5HOU) and the Johnson Space Center
Amateur Radio Club (W5RRR). Sandy Peck, the school's science coordinator,
said some of her students are hoping to attend a licensing class in the

The ISS crew is tentatively scheduled to speak next week with students at
Altamonte Elementary School in Florida.

The ARISS program is a cooperative venture of ARRL, AMSAT and NASA. For more
information, visit the ARISS Web site <>;.--Bruce
Paige, KK5DO, provided some information for this report


In the wake of the "Oregon Fire" activation the last week of August, the
Shasta County, California, ARES team barely had time to take a smoke-free
breath before being activated again. 

Shasta County Emergency Coordinator Drew Witham, W1SAR, reports that just as
evacuation orders in Weaverville were being cancelled and the California
Department of Forestry and Fire Protection was announcing near containment
of the Oregon fire, another huge blaze broke out in the nearby town of
Hayfork. By late in the day of August 31, the "Hyampom Fire" had scorched an
estimated 450 acres and prompted another round of evacuations. 

Shasta County and Trinity County ARES members responded quickly to shadow
CDF and Red Cross team members. Witham said this enabled communication from
the mountain communities back to CDF and Red Cross incident support centers
in Redding. 

"Heavy smoke and difficult terrain made direct communication difficult,"
Witham said. "At times messages were being relayed via two monitoring
stations using three different repeaters." Witham said that all of the
public information coming from the CDF's multi-agency information center in
Redding was relayed via ham radio. 

Witham said he'd first learned of the "Oregon Fire" while on duty battling
another blaze with his local volunteer fire department. Still in his
wildland firefighter's yellow Nomex gear, he headed for CDF Headquarters in
Redding, where DEC Dick Cloyd, WO6P, had responded to the CDF activation of
ARES. They quickly formulated a plan, and Witham headed for the fireline 60
miles away in the mountains. 

"Despite the distance, CDF and Red Cross personnel had communications within
the hour, and support was continued as needed right through the holiday
weekend," Witham said. ARES operators stood down September 3.--Drew Witham,


A Florida man who's facing thousands of dollars in federal fines for
unlicensed radio operation and for interfering with local hams was sentenced
to probation August 30 in state court. William Flippo was found guilty of
criminal mischief, a Class 1 misdemeanor, during a jury trial last spring.
Palm Beach County Judge Charles Burton further ordered Flippo--a Jupiter
CBer known as "Rabbit Ears"--to dispose of any radio equipment now in his

The sentence resulted from a charge that Flippo rammed his vehicle into the
car of a local amateur, Ed Petzolt, K1LNC, of Hobe Sound. At the time of the
incident two years ago, Petzolt was assisting an FCC agent in tracking down
malicious interference attributed to Flippo.

Burton had sentenced Flippo to 120 days in jail but suspended incarceration
in lieu of one year's probation with multiple conditions, including the ban
on owning radio equipment. Flippo has 30 days to appeal his sentence. Burton
further ordered that Flippo is to have no contact with Petzolt or with any
member of Petzolt's family. He also may not own or possess any weapons, and
he is required to reimburse Petzolt for lost wages. Flippo also has written
a letter of apology. 

Flippo, 58, already owes the US government $20,000 in fines for unlicensed
operation, willful and malicious interference to Amateur Radio
communications, and failure to let the FCC inspect his radio equipment. He's
now scheduled to appear in federal court November 5 after his arrest last
summer on additional charges. Flippo faces four counts of operating without
a license and four counts of deliberate and malicious interference to a
licensed service--Amateur Radio. 

Flippo was taken into custody in July 2000 and has been free on $100,000
bond. As a condition of his release, US Magistrate Judge Ann E. Vitunac
restricted Flippo's travel and prohibited him from making any radio

The criminal charges going to trial in November cover alleged violations
between June 1999 and April of last year. Each count carries a maximum
penalty of one year in prison and a $10,000 fine. In January 2000, the FCC
gave Flippo 30 days to pay the $20,000 already levied. The case was referred
to the US Attorney after he failed to do so, and the interference complaints


The FCC says the fee for a new or renewed Amateur Radio vanity call sign
will drop to $12 on September 10. Applications received on or after that
date will be subject to the new fee. The current vanity call sign fee is

The FCC proposed the lower fee last March in a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking
for the Assessment and Collection of Regulatory Fees for FY 2001 (MD Docket
No. 01-76). The FCC has estimated that 8000 applicants will apply for vanity
call signs in the current fiscal year.

Earlier this year, the FCC also put paper and electronic vanity call sign
applications on an equal footing in terms of processing priority. The FCC
used to give priority to electronic applications for vanity call signs.

FCC rules stipulate refunds for applicants who inadvertently overpay a
regulatory fee. Applicants who determine that they overpaid a vanity fee may
request a refund in writing. Requests seeking a "Vanity Fee Overpayment
Refund" go to FCC, 1270 Fairfield Rd, Gettysburg PA 17325-7245. Refund
requests should indicate the date of application, the total fee paid, and
the total refund owed.

The FCC has posted its FY2001 fee schedule on the Web
<>;. For more information on applying
for a vanity call sign, visit the FCC Amateur Radio Web page,


Gerald W. "Jerry" Hill, KH6HU, of New Haven, Connecticut, has been chosen as
coordinator of the ARRL Amateur Radio Education Project--better known as
"The Big Project." The educational initiative of ARRL President Jim Haynie,
W5JBP, is aimed at providing a turnkey Amateur Radio curriculum, equipment
and resources to middle schools.

"We're happy to have Jerry on board, and now we're anxious to get going,"
Haynie said. Hill started work September 4.

The aim of "The Big Project" is to improve the quality of education by
employing educationally valid techniques involving Amateur Radio to teach a
variety of subjects--including science, geography, language and speech. In
his new position, Hill will work with national educational organizations and
ARRL educational advisors to achieve this goal.

Born and raised in the upper Midwest, Hill lived for 25 years in Hawaii and
considers it home.  Prior to his retirement in April, Hill served as career
and technical education regional coordinator for the Department of Education
in Kauai. His experience in the education field includes curriculum
development, assisting teachers in implementing standards in the classroom,
grant writing, and a school-to-work program.

A US Navy veteran, Hill is a member and past president of Kauai Amateur
Radio Club and a long-time member of ARRL. 


Sunnyside Up Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Compared to the
previous seven days, average solar flux rose nearly 10 points this week, but
average sunspot numbers dropped about the same amount. There seems to be
quite a bit of new activity emerging. Earth is exiting a solar wind, which
brought planetary A indices to 17 and 20 on Monday and Tuesday. The current
forecast shows a planetary A index around 10 for the next 10 days, but, of
course, this could change.

A new sunspot group could bring more flare activity and coronal mass
ejections. The current outlook calls for solar flux to rise over the next
few days, to 225 on Friday, and around 230 on Saturday through Tuesday. This
could be an exciting fall DX season, and since solar activity will be
declining, perhaps the best for years to come.

Sunspot numbers for August 30 through September 5 were 138, 142, 153, 141,
168, 168 and 175, with a mean of 155. The 10.7 cm flux was 199.2, 188.7,
184.1, 182.5, 198.7, 218.4 and 218.3, with a mean of 198.6. Estimated
planetary A indices were 13, 16, 8, 7, 17, 20 and 10 with a mean of 13.



* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL September VHF QSO, the North American
Sprint, (CW) the WAE DX Contest (SSB), the SLP Competition (SWL), and the
ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of September 8-9. JUST
AHEAD: YLRL Howdy Days, the QRP Afield event, the AGB NEMIGA Contest, the
Air Force Anniversary QSO Party, the ARRL 10 GHz Cumulative Contest, the
Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the Washington State Salmon Run, the
North American Sprint (SSB) and the Tennessee QSO Party are the weekend of
September 15-16. 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.

* Sign up for September Emergency Communications Level I on-line course!
September registration for the Level I--Introduction to Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-001) will open Monday, September
10, at 4 PM Eastern Time. Two classes of 50 students will be processed
during the week, and the on-line classes will begin the week of September
17. After 4 PM Monday--and until all seats are filled--the registration form
can be found on the ARRL Course Registration page
<>;. Answers to most questions are on the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Home page <>;
and the C-CE FAQ page <>;. To learn more,
contact ARRL Certification and Conntinuing Education Coordinator Dan Miller,
K3UFG, Registration for Level II--Intermediate Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications (EC-002) will re-open Monday, September 24.

* CQ Contest publishes its final issue: CQ Contest magazine has put out its
last issue. Publisher Dick Ross, K2MGA, says the magazine, in publication
for almost six years, has been losing money for the past several years, and
the decision to cease publication with the October issue was strictly a
business decision. The content for the ham radio niche publication will be
absorbed into CQ. "CQ's dedication to the contest community is in no way
diminished," Ross said in "A Message from the Publisher" in CQ Contest's
final edition. All CQ Contest subscribers will be converted to CQ
subscribers or have their CQ subscriptions extended on a dollar-for-dollar
basis, starting with the November issue of CQ. In his "The Band Edge"
editorial in the October issue, CQ Contest Editor Bob Cox, K3EST, says the
magazine's legacy might be carried forward in the form of a Web publication
to serve the contesting community. The demise of CQ Contest leaves National
Contest Journal--published by ARRL--as the sole hard-copy magazine aimed at
the Amateur Radio contesting community.

* Allen B. Harbach, WA4DRU, SK: The man who had made life a bit easier for
fans of vintage Heath gear, Al Harbach, WA4DRU, of Melbourne, Florida, died
August 15. He was 73. He was a Life Member of ARRL and had authored several
items that appeared in QST. A native of Orchard Park, New York, and an
engineer, Harbach was first licensed in 1948 as W2YNI. In more recent years,
he became known to many as "Mr Heathkit" and a source of parts and
information about Heath amateur gear. A longstanding member of the North
Florida DX Association, Harbach was a prominent DXer, DXpeditioner and DXCC
Honor Roll member with 351 entities. His contesting experience using SB-200s
and SB-220s led him to design several modifications to those amplifiers that
he offered as products. He also sold antenna hardware. Survivors include his
wife, Pat. DX Engineering <>; has taken over
Harbach's antenna hardware business. Jeff Weinberg, W8CQ, has assumed
operation of Harbach Electronics <>;.

* Former ARRL HQ employee died of heart failure, not bee stings: Authorities
now say that Bill Jennings, K1WJ, a former ARRL Headquarters staff member,
died of heart failure, not as a direct result of bee stings as earlier
believed. According to The Hartford Courant, Jennings--a backyard
beekeeper--was attacked August 26 by bees from an especially aggressive
colony, but many of the stings occurred after he'd already died. "There is
no evidence that his death is in any way related to being stung by bees,"
Associate Medical Examiner Arkady Katsnelson said in a statement. "The
stingers seen on his face are most likely from being stung after he died
from his dysrhythmia, probably aggravated by the stress of the situation."
The medical examiner's office said venom from the bee stings had not entered
Jennings circulatory system, and it attributed his death to an enlarged
heart and generalized cardiovascular disease. Jennings, who was 54, worked
at ARRL Headquarters in the late 1970s and early 1980s. QST Publisher Mark
Wilson, K1RO, and ARRL New England Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, attended a
memorial service for Jennings on August 31. Wilson and Frenaye worked with
Jennings when he was at ARRL Headquarters. 

* DXCC squared--the hard way! The late DXpedition team of Lloyd and Iris
Colvin, W6KG and W6QL, worked, confirmed, and received DXCC from more than
100 DXCC entities. This fact was among those established as research
continues on a biography of the Colvins by author, Jim Cain, K1TN, a former
ARRL Headquarters staff member. "We've counted DXCCs from 109 DXCC countries
so far," Cain said, "not including any of the dozens of DXCCs Lloyd and Iris
achieved as individuals from California. Can anyone top this?" Iris Colvin
died in 1998, and Lloyd Colvin died in 1993. The couple was most active
between the 1960s and the early 1990s. Commissioned by the Yasme Foundation,
the soon-to-be-published book will include a history of the Foundation and a
biography of the couple. Cain invites additional information, photos, and
anecdotes on the Colvins and on the early Yasme days in the 1950s. Send
information to 

* High-altitude balloon flight carried ham radio payload: Edge of Space
Sciences is declaring its latest balloon launch a success. The Denver,
Colorado-based non-profit organization promotes science and education by
exploring frontiers in Amateur Radio and high-altitude balloons. EOSS
reports that its Flight 51 was launched and recovered successfully on August
25. Seven payloads were on board. "ATV from the balloon was spectacular,"
said Jack Roland, KE0VH. "It showed the balloon going through a snowstorm as
it ascended through 25,000 feet, on its way to its maximum altitude of
slightly more than 90,000 feet." Roland said the EOSS team had clear
pictures throughout the entire flight. Future flights will incorporate a
crossband repeater. For more information, visit the EOSS Web site
< >.

* West Kiribati T30ES operation on the air: Eric Griffin, N1JSY, will be on
the air for the next 18 months from the island of Butaritari in West
Kiribati as T30ES. The T30ES operation is not a DXpedition. Griffin is a
Penn State grad who's in the Peace Corps. His T30ES adventure is being
supported by the Candlewood Amateur Radio Association and the Bethel
Educational Amateur Radio Society, both of Connecticut, whose members
donated the various elements for the T30ES station. At last report, one
antenna was up and N1JSY had made a few regional QSOs as the station
undergoes its shakedown cruise. T30ES will be active as his schedule
permits. He's running 100 W with battery power and will operate only during
his non-work hours. QSL to PO Box 3441, Danbury CT 06813. For more
information on T30ES, visit The Kiribati Connection Web site,
<>;.--Peter Kemp, KZ1Z 

* K3RXK to be digital conference banquet speaker: Tony Curtis, K3RXK, will
be the banquet speaker at the 20th annual ARRL and TAPR Digital
Communications Conference, Saturday, September 22 in Cincinnati. His topic
will be "40 Years of Amateur Radio in Space: Where We've Been, Where We Are,
Where We're Going." Curtis notes that OSCAR-1 was launched December 12,
1961. An ARRL Life Member, Curtis has written dozens of books about space,
astronomy, computers and electronics. He is editor of Space Today Online
<>;. Full DCC information, a registration form, and
hotel information may be obtained by contacting Tucson Amateur Packet Radio,
972-671-TAPR (8277); fax 972-671-8716; e-mail:;

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!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL,
==>ARRL News on the Web:
==>ARRL Audio News: or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from

To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: 
ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site, You'll have an opportunity during registration
to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other
material. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL
Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in
the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck
the appropriate boxes, and click on "Submit modification" to make selections
effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery
address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.)

The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these

* ARRLWeb, (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be
posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.)

* The listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio
Club: Send e-mail to (no subject needed). The body of the
message should say "subscribe letter-list" to subscribe or "unsubscribe
letter-list" to unsubscribe. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who
receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.) 


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.

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):

Editorial questions or comments: John E. Ross, KD8IDJ, at


The ARRL E-Letter e-mail is also available in plain-text version:

Outlook Express

1. From the Inbox view, select the Tools menu and the Options selection.

2. Click the Read tab

3. Check the Read All Messages In Plain Text box.  When you open the e-mail, it will be in plain text without images. Other e-mail programs may be able to make a Mail Rule for e-mail received from the address so that the plain-text-only display is selected automatically.

Outlook 2007

Use the same procedure as for Outlook Express, although the global option is under "Tools/Trust Center/E-mail Security".


Use the menu item "View/Message Body As/Plain Text" or "View/Message Source" options.

OS X Mail (Mac)

Use the "View/Message/Plain Text Alternative" menu item.


Use the "Message text garbled?" link in the drop-down menu at the upper right of the displayed message block. pine, alpine Set "prefer-plain-text" in your ~/.pinerc configuration file: feature-list=..., prefer-plain-text, ...


Instragram     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     LinkedIn