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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 20, No. 47
November 30, 2001


* +Space walk set to resolve docking glitch
* +Comments due February 12 in "band threat" proceeding
* +Unfavorable sun angle will mean AO-40 transponder shutdown
* +Atlantic spanned on 73 kHz!
* +MARS lets US troops "phone home"
* +NWS/ARRL special event is December 1
* +"The Big Project" seeks logo
* +Leonard "Professional Media Award" deadline looms
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Registration opens for ARRL Level III Emergency Comms course
     Amateur Radio Trader calls it quits
     ARRL approves Afghanistan operation for DXCC
     FCC says ULS now compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape
     Ham-sailor departs Nassau
     John Parrott, W4FRU, SK
     John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, SK
     Sixth District QSL Bureau changing manager, address
     Southeastern Division Convention is December 1-2
     Starshine 3 is now SO 43
     DXCC credit granted for XU7AAR operation
     Badger State Smoke Signals delayed

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Speaking via Amateur Radio November 30, International Space Station crew
chief Frank Culbertson, KD5OPQ, told youngsters in South Carolina that a
space walk scheduled for December 3 will attempt to fix a Progress supply
rocket docking problem. The faulty docking was holding up the launch of the
fourth ISS crew.

Culbertson said the Russian Progress rocket, which arrived November 28, was
not completely attached to the ISS. "It's firmly attached with some latches,
but it doesn't have the right hooks engaged to make it really, really
strong," Culbertson explained to youngsters gathered at the South Carolina
State Museum in Columbia. "So, on Monday, two of the crew members are going
to do a space walk to try to find out what is blocking the hooks and see if
we can get that cleared and complete the latching." 

Culbertson made the comments during a scheduled Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station--or ARISS--school contact. NASA later confirmed
the spacewalk schedule. Russian Progress supply rockets are programmed to
dock automatically with the ISS.

NASA says the two Russian crew members aboard the ISS--Mikhail Tyurin and
Vladimir Dezhurov--will carry out Monday's space walk at 1330 UTC. NASA has
re-set the shuttle Endeavour launch for December 4, 2245 UTC, from Kennedy
Space Center.

The Expedition 4 crew of Commander Yuri Onufrienko and Flight Engineers Dan
Bursch, KC5PNU, and Carl Walz, KC5TIE, was to head into space November 29.
They are scheduled to replace the current crew of Culbertson, Tyurin and
Dezhurov, who have been aboard the ISS since August.

In addition to the replacement crew, new Amateur Radio antennas are stowed
aboard the shuttle for transport to the ISS. Once they arrive , the new
antennas will be installed around the perimeter of the Service Module,
allowing future operation from HF to microwave frequencies.

For more information about the ISS, visit NASA's Human Space Flight Web
site, <>.


Comments are due February 12, 2002, in an FCC Notice of Proposed Rule Making
and Order, ET Docket 01-278, that ARRL has targeted as a potential band
threat. Reply comments are due on March 12, 2002. The proceeding deals in
part with a potential threat to the popular 70-cm band from Part 15 RF
identification devices proposed for deployment between 425 and 435 MHz.

SAVI Technology, which markets radiolocation and wireless inventory control
products, told the FCC it needs the rules changes to satisfy customer demand
for increased RFID system capabilities. The FCC has proposed to allow
operation of RFIDs as unlicensed Part 15 devices in the 425-435 MHz band
with transmissions of up to two minutes at field strengths now only
permitted for extremely short-duration, intermittent control signals.

The ARRL has argued that under the Communications Act of 1934 the FCC lacks
authority to permit unlicensed devices with substantial interference
potential and that such devices must be licensed. The League also is looking
into the interference potential posed to 20 meters by a proposal to increase
the maximum emission levels permitted by Part 15 devices operating at 13.56
MHz, as well as the maximum level of out-of-band emissions. 

Commenters are advised to read paragraphs 20-27 of the NPRM&O, available on
the ARRL Web site
<>. Interested
parties may file comments using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System,
<> (search using "01-278"). Commenters
should include full name, US Postal Service mailing address, and applicable
docket or rule making number--in this case ET 01-278. 

It's also possible to e-mail comments via the ECFS. To obtain e-mail filing
instructions, commenters should send an e-mail to and include
the words "get form <your e-mail address>" in the body of the message. A
sample form and directions will be sent by reply e-mail.


Necessary adjustments to AO-40's attitude to compensate for unfavorable sun
angles over the next several months will silence the satellite's
transponders for a while. Recent reports indicate that AO-40 continues to
operate well, providing coverage between many parts of the world.

Command station team member Stacey Mills, W4SM, says, however, that he's
puzzled and disappointed by the relatively low numbers of users on AO-40
during the last month or so. "I'm not sure why," he told ARRL this week.
"This is prime time, and we won't have such good conditions much longer
until the three-month 'bad angle' cycle passes."

A scheduled attitude shift to compensate for the unfavorable sun angle will
leave AO-40's antennas pointing away from Earth until next spring and lead
to a transponder shutdown period that could start as soon as late December.
The satellite is currently in a long period during which Earth eclipses the
sun near perigee--its point closest to Earth. AO-40 relies on solar panels
for its power.

Mills said that testing and development continue on AO-40's three-axis
control system, but three-axis control would not be ready in time to avoid
the unfavorable solar-angle season. AO-40 will remain in spin mode for at
least a few more months, he said. 

Mills estimated that ground controllers may need to start shifting the
satellite's attitude starting sometime just before Christmas. He didn't
expect a favorable sun angle that would again allow pointing AO-40 directly
toward Earth (ALON/ALAT 0/0) until mid-April. "It's possible that we can
leave the transponders on during the first part of the move and turn them
back on slightly before April 15 as we start back toward 0/0," Mills said,
"but you can figure that things will be sub-optimal from about Christmas
until April 15."

Mills said earlier this month that ground controllers now assume that
AO-40's S1 transmitter is beyond recovery. The S1 transmitter quit abruptly
in August, but before going down, it had produced excellent results. Ground
controllers also have done additional testing on the 2-meter (V band)
transmitter, which, Mills conceded, also appears lost.

The next-generation AO-40 satellite marked its first year in orbit during
November. The former "Phase 3D" satellite was launched November 16, 2000,
aboard an Ariane 5 launcher from the European Spaceport in Kourou, French
Guiana. Transponder operation began May 5, 2001. AO-40 is the largest
Amateur Radio satellite ever put into space. 

The current AO-40 transponder operating schedule and more information are
available via the AMSAT Web site <>.


Low-frequency experimenter Lawrence "Laurie" Mayhead, G3AQC, has added
another LF accomplishment to his list--transatlantic reception of his 73 kHz
signal. Word of the LF exploit comes just weeks away from the centennial of
the historic transatlantic transmission of December 12, 1901, when Guglielmo
Marconi, in Newfoundland, received the letter "S" transmitted from England.

Mayhead reports that on the night of November 21-22, his signal on 72.401
kHz was received in the US. "I managed to transmit a full call sign to John
Andrews, W1TAG, in Holden, Massachusetts," he said. Mayhead was using
dual-frequency CW--or DFCW--featuring elements that are two minutes long,
and Andrews detected his signal using ARGO DSP software.

Andrews, who lives in Central Massachusetts, says he first tried to receive
G3AQC's 73-kHz transmissions last spring, but got only partial copy. Mayhead
resumed beaconing again in late August, and Andrews devoted "quite a number
of evenings" to trying to hear him. His patience was rewarded November 20
(UTC), when he reports G3AQC's signal "magically appeared from the noise"
and, although very weak, showed up on his computer display. Initially,
Mayhead was just sending his call sign suffix--"AQC"--over and over, but the
next night he began repeating his full call sign.

"Luck being with us, conditions were absolutely amazing," Andrews said,
adding that G3AQC's signal was much clearer than the previous evening.
"Figured by grid squares, the distance between G3AQC and W1TAG was 3275
miles (5270 km)," he said. G3AQC and two other UK stations have transmitted
since the evening of November 21-22, but no further reception has occurred. 

Andrews said he lives in a residential area that's not known for being
especially "quiet," so he's puzzled that he's apparently the only US station
to hear the 73-kHz transmissions from the UK.

Last February, Mayhead and Larry Kayser, VA3LK, in Ontario, completed a
transatlantic Amateur Radio contact on 136 kHz. The UK's 73-kHz band is a
2.8 kHz sliver of spectrum, from 71.6 to 74.4 kHz. The ARRL has petitioned
the FCC to create two low-frequency Amateur Radio allocations--at 136 kHz
and at 160-190 kHz. FCC action is anticipated in 2002.


US Army Special Forces on duty in Islamabad, Pakistan, and in other
undisclosed locations have begun keeping in touch with home via Military
Affiliate Radio System--MARS--phone patches. Army Military Affiliate Radio
System Headquarters here said that MARS members in all three services--Army,
Air Force and Navy-Marine Corps--are gearing up for greatly expanded
phone-patch operations as the holidays approach.

MARS phone patches make it possible for deployed troops to call their
families in the US from areas where commercial connections are not
available. Specially trained Amateur Radio operators enrolled in MARS
provide the connection between military shortwave stations deployed overseas
and the telephone system back home. During the Vietnam War, phone patches
were a major source of comfort to families and service members alike. MARS
responded again during Operation Desert Storm.

Phone-patching has taken on new life over the last several years as Special
Forces members were deployed on peacekeeping missions to Kosovo, Macedonia,
West Africa and other areas that lack regular or affordable phone service.

"Most of our contacts lasted less than 15 minutes and were to the wives,"
said a communications sergeant recently returned from a three-month Special
Forces mission in Africa. "All the guys wanted to make sure everything was
running smoothly in their absence." 

Successfully completing a patch gives a big lift to the MARS amateur in the
middle, too. "You never know who you will meet on these [high] frequencies,"
said one East Coast MARS member, who called it "a privilege" to serve as an
Army MARS phone-patch operator.

These days, calls from overseas might originate from battery-powered
backpack transceivers with a power of 20 W or less, but hams on the US end
of the circuit using ordinary Amateur Radio gear and antennas are usually
able to make a workable connection. Even the more sophisticated military
base stations can experience problems, however. One overseas communicator
reported that turning on a linear amplifier tripped the circuit breakers on
the local power system.

Amateurs interested in joining MARS should contact their state MARS director
or visit the Army MARS <>, the Air Force MARS
<> or the Navy-Marine Corps
MARS <> Web site.--thanks to Army MARS and Bill Sexton,


The National Weather Service and ARRL will co-sponsor an on-the-air event to
recognize the contribution of SKYWARN volunteers. The NWS/ARRL SKYWARN
Recognition Day will be Saturday, December 1, from 0000 to 2400 UTC. This
will mark the third year that ARRL and the NWS have co-sponsored an Amateur
Radio special event. Some 80 National Weather Service offices are signed up
to participate. 

During the special event, hams or ham groups will operate from NWS offices
and contact other amateurs or amateur groups across the country. Last year
more than 23,000 contacts were made from NWS offices. The object is for
amateur stations to exchange QSO information with as many National Weather
Service special event stations as possible. Stations will transmit call
sign, signal report, location and a one or two word description of the
weather at their location--such as sunny, partly cloudy, windy.

The NWS will offer participation certificates and endorsement stickers to
amateurs who request them. Requests go to National Weather Service, 920
Armory Rd, Goodland, KS 67735. This year's endorsements includes the
Patriot--a special endorsement to honor Amateur Radio volunteers who
assisted in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, attacks at the World
Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Full information, operating instructions, a list of participating NWS
stations, and certificate and QSL information is available on the NWS/ARRL
SKYWARN Recognition Day Web page <> or see November
QST, page 76.


Now that the Amateur Radio Education Project-- "The Big Project"--is under
way, it's looking for a logo. "The theme is using Amateur Radio in
education," says The Big Project Coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU. "This is
your opportunity to show off your creativity." The deadline for entries is
December 28, 2001! 

All entries should incorporate the ARRL diamond, portray the proper image in
both black-and-white and in color, and be the same size as other standard
patches, such as ARES--typically 3.5 inches in diameter. Entries should be
submitted electronically at a resolution suitable for QST publication (at
least 300 dpi when the image is sized at 4x5 inches or larger; see The ARRL
Author's Guide , <>). 

The creator of the logo selected as a permanent symbol for The Big Project
will receive a handsome wall certificate, and the winner's name will be
announced in QST, in The ARRL Letter and on the ARRL Web site. Remember, the
deadline for entries is December 28. E-mail entries to The Big Project
Coordinator Jerry Hill, KH6HU <>;. (Resubmit your entry if it's
not acknowledged within two business days.) 


December 14 is the deadline to submit nominations for the 2001 Bill Leonard,
W2SKE, Professional Media Award. The annual ARRL award goes to a
professional journalist or group of journalists to recognize outstanding
coverage of Amateur Radio in TV, radio, print or multimedia. 

Nominations will be reviewed by members of ARRL's Public Relations
Committee, and the committee's recommendation will be presented to the ARRL
Board of Directors at its January meeting. The winner will receive an
engraved plaque and a check for $500. 

An avid Amateur Radio enthusiast, Leonard--a former President of CBS
News--is remembered for his 1958 Sports Illustrated article "The Battle of
the Hams," which focused on the "sport" of DXing. Leonard died in 1994 and
was inducted into the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame in 1996.

For more information about the Professional Media Award or to receive an
official entry form, contact Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY,


Solar maven Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: 

Average daily sunspot numbers were down by nearly 38 points this week over
last, but average daily solar flux remained about the same. Flux and sunspot
values reached a minimum on Sunday and are now increasing. Projected solar
flux for Friday through Monday is 210, 215, 220 and 220.

A large sunspot (9715) with a complex magnetic field is moving to the center
of the visible solar disk, with a straight shot at Earth. This may cause
some disruptions this weekend, although probably nothing like the severe
geomagnetic storm that disrupted HF propagation last weekend. The predicted
planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 5, 15, 30 and 15. 30 is quite
disturbed, so Sunday may have high absorption of HF signals.

Last weekend Earth was blasted by energy from two coronal mass ejections.
The mid-latitude A index on Saturday was 76, and the planetary A index was
108, indicating a severe geomagnetic storm. This caused dramatic aurora
displays visible as far south as Arkansas and Texas in the United States. A
dramatic gallery of aurora images is available on the Web
site <>.

Sunspot numbers for November 15 through 21 were 219, 200, 157, 181, 168, 160
and 132, with a mean of 173.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 207, 202.1, 198.5,
188.2, 191.3, 185 and 184.2, with a mean of 193.8. Estimated planetary A
indices were 7, 8, 11, 7, 16, 8 and 6, with a mean of 9.

Sunspot numbers for November 22 through 28 were 143, 144, 124, 102, 122, 139
and 180 with a mean of 136.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 282.5, 177.3, 173, 170,
174.8, 190.4 and 198.5, with a mean of 195.2. Estimated planetary A indices
were 8, 12, 108, 8, 5, 2 and 3 with a mean of 20.9.



* This weekend on the radio: The TARA RTTY Sprint, the TOPS Activity
80-Meter Contest, the Tennessee QSO Party and the QRP ARCI Holiday Spirits
Sprint are the weekend of December 1-2. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL 160-Meter
Contest, Six Club First Winter Contest, the PSK31 Death Match are the
weekend of December 8-9. The ARRL 10-Meter Contest is the weekend of
December 15-16. See the ARRL Contest Branch page, and for more info.

* Registration opens for ARRL Level III Emergency Comms course: Registration
for the ARRL Level III--Advanced Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
on-line course (EC-003) opens Monday, December 3, at 4 PM Eastern Time.
On-line classes will begin the week of December 10. For those who took the
prerequisite Level I (EC-001) and Level II (EC-002) courses, the Level III
course is designed to prepare volunteers for activity in upper level
positions. To enroll, visit the ARRL Course Registration page
<> after 4 PM Monday. ARRL Course Welcome
letters will be sent later in the week after mentors have been assigned to
each student. Access codes will follow, so all students can begin. To learn
more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Continuing
Education Web site <> and the CCE links found there,
or contact ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Coordinator Dan
Miller, K3UFG,

* Amateur Radio Trader calls it quits: Amateur Radio Trader magazine is
ceasing publication with its second November issue, which went out to
subscribers November 20. "This was a difficult but necessary decision, due
to the combined effects of the Internet on our print edition (the primary
source of our Web content), and the economic climate," said the magazine's
editor Barbara Patterson, KF4MVV, in a statement on the Amateur Radio Trader
Web site <>. "ART is no longer a viable product
for us. We are redirecting the company's resources into other areas."
Patterson told ARRL that the Amateur Radio Trader Web site also would be
discontinued and that subscribers would be reimbursed for any outstanding
issues. She said TAP Publishing Company, which owns the twice-monthly
listing of classified ads, had decided to put its energies into other areas.
Patterson apologized for any inconvenience and said the second November
issue of ART would remain posted on the ART Web site through December 9. 

* ARRL approves Afghanistan operation for DXCC: The ARRL DXCC Desk reports
it has received acceptable documentation for YA5T in Afghanistan and has
approved it for DXCC credit. Afghanistan is among the top 10 "most wanted"
countries. The license, which authorizes operation on all bands--including 6
meters--was issued by the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan government that's
still recognized by the United Nations. YA5T will be operated by Peter
Casier, ON6TT, as well as by Mats Persson, SM7PKK, Robert Kasca, S53R, and
Mark Demeuleneere, ON4WW. All work for the UN World Food Program. YA5T will
be on the air as their schedules permit. The DXCC documentation is for
contacts made on or after November 20, 2001. No other call signs or
operations have been approved. For more information, visit the YA5T Web site
managed by Bruce Richards, WD4NGB <>. 

* FCC says ULS now compatible with Internet Explorer and Netscape: The FCC
has announced that its Universal Licensing System (ULS) now can be accessed
using either Internet Explorer 5.5-6.0 or Netscape Navigator 4.5, 4.51,
4.61, 4.7 and 4.75. Until now, the ULS has supported only Netscape. The FCC
says applicants may now use Internet Explorer to file applications and for
all other ULS purposes. For more information, contact ULS <>;.
For questions concerning computer access to ULS, CORES registration and FCC
Registration Number, TIN/Call Sign issues, or submitting attachments in ULS,
contact the Technical Support Hotline, 202-414-1250, available weekdays 7
AM-10 PM, Saturdays, 8 AM-7 PM and Sundays from noon-6 PM Eastern Time. The
Public Notice outlining this change is available on the FCC's Web site

* Ham-sailor departs Nassau: David Clark, KB6TAM--the oldest person to sail
solo around the world--is again under way after a stopover in Nassau, the
Bahamas. Clark arrived in Nassau Thanksgiving day on his way to a homecoming
celebration in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, December 7. His wife, Lynda,
reports that he departed November 27 for Bimini in order to get ahead of
Hurricane Olga, now a Category 1 storm. Lynda Clark said her husband was
"treated royally" during his Nassau stay.

* John Parrott, W4FRU, SK: Veteran DXer and well-known QSL manager John
Parrott, W4FRU, of Suffolk, Virginia, died November 28. He was 79. A native
of Memphis, Tennessee, he was first licensed in 1937. An ARRL Life member,
Parrott was a director of the International DX Association, a member of the
Virginia DX Century Club, Quarter Century Wireless Association, The Society
of Wireless Pioneers and the Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers. "All we say isn't enough for a friend like John," said INDEXA
President Murphy Ratterree, W4WMQ. "He was special to many people." He was a
retired US Air Force fighter and transport pilot, and his 32-year flying
career spanned World War II, the Korean conflict and Vietnam. Survivors
include his wife Amy, KN4NZ, and their daughter and two sons. The Funeral
was set for December 1 in Suffolk, and burial will be in Arlington National
Cemetery at a later date. Memorial donations are welcome to the American
Heart Association or the American Diabetes Association.

* John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, SK: A well-known member of Nebraska's ham radio
community--John "Mac" McKinney, W0AP, of Dannebrog, died November 24. He was
83. A New York native and FCC employee from 1945 until 1975, McKinney last
served as chief of the monitoring station in Grand Island. He was an ARRL
Life Member, Assistant Midwest Division Director, and manager of the
Nebraska CW Net. He also belonged to the Society of Wireless Pioneers, the
Morse Telegraph Club, the Old Old Timers Club, and the Quarter Century
Wireless Association, and once served as a QCWA board member. Survivors
include five daughters. Services were set for November 28 in Dannebrog.

* Sixth District QSL Bureau changing manager, address: The ARRL Sixth
District QSL Bureau has changed management and has a new address. Taking
over effective December 1, 2001, are Arlette and Chuck Marshall, KO6IS and
KD6WP, ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau, PO Box 530, Weed, CA 96094-0530. For
more information, visit the ARRL Sixth District QSL Bureau Web site

* Southeastern Division Convention is December 1-2: The ARRL Southeastern
Division Convention will be held December 1-2 at the Manatee County Civic
Center, Palmetto, Florida, in conjunction with the 26th annual Tampa Bay
Hamfest. Featured speaker is ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP. ARRL Lab
Supervisor Ed Hare, W1RFI, will offer five technical presentations. Amateur
Radio examinations will be offered. For more information, visit the Tampa
Bay Hamfest Web site, <> or e-mail Knupke, N4PK

* Starshine 3 is now SO 43: AMSAT-NA Board Chairman Bill Tynan, W3XO, has
announced that the recently launched Starshine 3 satellite has met all the
requirements for an OSCAR number and has been designated Starshine OSCAR 43
(SO-43). Starshine 3 is a mirror ball with AX.25 9600-baud telemetry on
145.825 MHz. The satellite is visible to the eye and will provide students
the opportunity to participate in its primary mission of satellite tracking.
More information about the Starshine project can be found on the Starshine
Web site <>.--AMSAT News Service

* DXCC credit granted for XU7AAR operation: The ARRL DXCC Desk reports that
it has received supporting documentation for the 1999 XU7AAR (Cambodia)
operation and has now accepted XU7AAR for DXCC credit. Those who submitted
XU7AAR previously and were denied credit may contact DXCC <>;
and have their records updated without having to resubmit cards.--DXCC Desk 

* Badger State Smoke Signals delayed: The January 2002 editions of
Wisconsin's Badger State Smoke Signals Amateur Radio newspaper for Wisconsin
amateurs will be delayed in delivery due to the ill health of Editor Jim
Romelfanger, K9ZZ.

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
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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.

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