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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 14
April 5, 2002


* +P5/4L4FN North Korean operation proclaimed valid for DXCC
* +FCC puts added pressure on amateur microwave band
* +Vanity backlog could be vanquished by next week
* +Wisconsin becomes the latest PRB-1 state
* +New Mexico amateurs support fire response
* +K5MP named new Hurricane Watch Net manager
*  FCC announces weekend Web site, electronic filing outage
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Certification and Continuing Education course registration
    +ARRL to be represented at NAB convention
     British ham-sailor expresses gratitude for amateurs' assistance
     Meteor scatter rally announced
     New England QSO Party set for May
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award

+Available on ARRL Audio News



To great sighs of relief from the DX community, the ARRL this week
announced that it will accept SSB contacts with P5/4L4FN in North Korea
for DXCC credit. Operator Ed Giorgadze of the Republic of Georgia, has
been active from the capital city of Pyongyang since early last November.
Valid SSB contacts from the onset of the P5/4L4FN operation last fall now
may be submitted for DXCC credit.

"The ARRL has now received adequate evidence that the operation by Mr.
Giorgadze is being conducted with the knowledge and approval of
telecommunications officials in Pyongyang," said ARRL Membership Services
Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG. "At the present time, this approval is limited
to SSB operation." Giorgadze has been operating with oral permission from
North Korean authorities, but Mills said the ARRL is satisfied on the
basis of written information submitted that the P5/4L4FN operation
conforms with DXCC rules and should be accepted for credit.

Mills cited DXCC Rule 7, which states "Any Amateur Radio operation should
take place only with the complete approval and understanding of
appropriate administration officials." The rule continues, "In any case,
credit will be given for contacts where adequate evidence of authorization
by appropriate authorities exists."

Mills said the ARRL Awards Committee met and concurred that the operation
should be accredited.

The P5/4L4FN operation is not a DXpedition. Giorgadze is employed by the
United Nations World Food Program and often spends as much as 12 hours a
day on the job, operating in his off hours.

According to The Daily DX, Giorgadze learned this week that he will be in
North Korea at least until July 2003. He tried for more than two years to
obtain permission to operate Amateur Radio and finally was given the okay
last year to bring an ICOM IC-706MkIIG into the country. A favorite
hangout has been 21.225 MHz (he works split and listens up). He's also
been a frequent visitor to 10 meters. Now that his operation has been
okayed for DXCC, Giorgadze has indicated that he plans to be more active
on the air.

While P5/4L4FN has been doing some RTTY operation in addition to SSB,
those contacts are not yet being accepted for DXCC credit.

Bruce Paige, KK5DO, has been acting as QSL manager and liaison for
P5/4L4FN. He said this week that the first QSL cards should be going out
within a few weeks. Paige offers an on-line log, additional news and
information and a list of frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the
operation on his AMSAT Net Web site <>. Click on
the "P5 North Korea" link.


The FCC has again targeted Amateur Radio's primary allocation at 2390 to
2400 MHz for possible sharing or use by other radio services. A Notice of
Proposed Rulemaking (WT Docket 02-55)--released in mid-March but not yet
available for public comment--invites comments on either sharing the band
with public safety services being displaced from 800 MHz or moving
amateurs elsewhere. The ARRL plans to file comments in the proceeding.

The FCC says increasing incidents of harmful interference to public safety
systems in the 800-MHz band prompted the proceeding, "Improving Public
Safety Communications in the 800 MHz Band." To alleviate the problem, the
Commission now is looking into restructuring the 800 MHz band and moving
some occupants elsewhere.

"In this proceeding, if commenting parties believe that incumbent amateur
services cannot co-exist with relocated 800 MHz services," the FCC said,
"we seek comment on whether incumbent amateur services could be relocated,
what spectrum could be used for their relocation, and what procedures
would apply to such relocation." The FCC NPRM identifies 2390-2400 MHz as
an "Unlicensed PCS Band." Unlicensed, asynchronous PCS devices were
authorized there in 1995, but Amateur Radio remains primary.

The FCC also will seek comments on whether existing UPCS operations could
continue in the band or be forced to cease. It also wants input on "the
suitability of the 2390-2400 MHz band as replacement spectrum and whether
there are other band segments with which this band could be paired." The
FCC noted that the adjacent 2385-2390 MHz segment already is slated for

The FCC said its discussion of 2390-2400 MHz and other segments in terms
of replacement spectrum was intended to be "illustrative rather than
exclusive" and that other bands "may also merit consideration."

Just last summer, the FCC invited comments on its proposals to reallocate
some spectrum in the 2390 to 2400 MHz amateur segment--as well as in the
non-amateur 1.9 and 2.1 GHz bands--for possible use by unspecified mobile
and fixed services. The Commission has proposed 2390 to 2400 MHz and other
bands to support the introduction of advanced wireless systems, including
so-called third-generation (3G) mobile systems. The FCC also has asked for
comments on whether amateurs could share the band with government users.

The complete NPRM is available via the FCC Web site
<>. The
FCC will officially invite comments for 30 days after the NPRM is
published in the Federal Register. Reply comments will be due 60 days
following publication in the Federal Register.


If the FCC continues to process vanity applications at its current rate,
the application backlog could disappear by next week. The FCC continues to
whittle away the vanity backlog, issuing another 474 grants over the last
five processing runs--although the last run only yielded 26 grants from
one day's worth of applications. As of April 5, the FCC had processed
vanity applications received at its Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office
through March 8.

At the current pace--and barring any difficulties--the remaining backlog
of some 500 vanity applications could be wiped out by April 12. The FCC
does not process vanity applications on weekends. The typical wait for
action on a vanity call sign application is about 18 days from the time
the application is received by the Private Wireless Division Licensing and
Technical Analysis Branch in Gettysburg. At its peak, the vanity backlog
was estimated at more than 2000 applications.

The processing of routine Amateur Service applications has been unaffected
by the vanity problems. The vanity troubles began after about two weeks of
paper vanity applications sent off for anthrax decontamination were not
returned to Gettysburg. FCC policy continues to give equal priority to
paper and electronic vanity applications, and when the paper applications
were waylaid, vanity processing ground to a halt. FCC staffers--with
ARRL's assistance--used payment information to contact those who had filed
and have them submit new applications.

The FCC said last month that it's finally starting to receive the
applications that had been missing and were at the core of the major
vanity holdup that had extended through much of the fall and winter.
Outside of a short hiatus about a month ago to deal with a processing
anomaly, the FCC has been proceeding cautiously with its effort to get
current again on vanity applications.

Amateurs with pending applications may take advantage of the FCC Call
Center's toll free number, 888-CALL FCC (888-225-5322) or may initiate an
application search via the Universal Licensing System (ULS)
<>. Information on the amateur vanity call sign
system is available on the FCC's Vanity Call Sign page


Wisconsin Gov Scott McCallum this week signed AB368, the Amateur Radio FCC
PRB-1 Amateur Radio Antenna Protection Act into law in that state. The
governor's stroke of the pen April 2 makes the Badger State the 16th to
incorporate the language of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1
into its statutes. The new law becomes effective immediately.

"After summarizing the contents of the law, Gov McCallum made a special
point of noting the important role that Wisconsin hams play in providing
emergency and public communication support throughout the state," said
ARRL Wisconsin Section Government Liaison Jim Lackore, AD9X. who was
present at the signing. The Amateur Radio antenna bill was one of six
pieces of legislation that McCallum signed into law April 2 during a
ceremony at the Oshkosh Senior Center.

AB 368 mirrors the language of the limited federal preemption. It would
require that ordinances or resolutions affecting the placement, screening
or height of Amateur Radio antennas or support structures have a
"reasonable and clearly defined aesthetic, public health or safety
objective." Such an ordinance or resolution also must represent "the
minimum practical regulation" necessary to accomplish the locality's
objectives and must reasonably accommodate Amateur Radio communication.

On hand in addition to Lackore as the governor signed the measure were
Wisconsin Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG; Wisconsin Section
Emergency Coordinator Dr. Stan Kaplan, WB9RQR; Ozaukee County Supervisor
and Republican official Gus Wirth Jr, W9BTN; and the original sponsor of
AB368, former Wisconsin State Rep Joan Wade, who credited the efforts of
the late Jim Romelfanger, K9ZZ, in getting the bill through the

Romelfanger--a Wisconsin Amateur Radio activist, ARRL Public Information
Coordinator and editor of the Badger State Smoke Signals ham radio
newspaper--died December 22. He had worked closely with Wade's office to
promote introduction of PRB-1 legislation for several years. Michalski has
characterized passage of the measure "a tribute" to Romelfanger.

Michalski said one of the reasons for the passage of AB368 was a strong
team and significant support from Wisconsin's Amateur Radio community.
"Our deep appreciation to all of you who took the time to contact your
legislators," Michalski said. "The system works!"

A PRB-1 measure has been under consideration in Tennessee, and similar
measures have been proposed for introduction in other states. More
information on antenna regulation is available on the ARRL Antenna
Restrictions Web page


Amateurs in New Mexico supported the activities of responding agencies in
late March when four wildfires broke out at approximately the same time
within a few miles of each other. One of the fires destroyed more than two
dozen houses.

Working as a combined Lincoln County Amateur Radio Emergency Service
(ARES) and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) team, amateurs
provided local communication support as well as an HF link between the
fire incident command post and the state emergency operations center in
the capital city of Santa Fe.

"This was the first time the team members wore both hats during an actual
event," said Lincoln County Emergency Coordinator and RACES Officer Rick
Sohl, K5RIC.

Amateurs also helped the Rio Hondo Chapter of the American Red Cross,
which provided staff, equipment and food to feed fire-suppression teams as
well as those staffing the incident command headquarters, other support
staffers and those forced to take refuge in Red Cross shelters or seek
first aid. More than 1000 people had to be evacuated.

Sohl said the so-called Alto Fire got its start March 23 in Lincoln County
and destroyed 29 homes and a barn. "Someone putting fireplace ashes
outside without making sure the ashes were out caused this fire," he said.
The blaze burned nearly 1000 acres. A second fire started in Otero County
on the Mescalero Apache Reservation. Called the Hondo Fire, it
subsequently crossed into Lincoln County and burned some 17,000 acres.

Sohl said local repeater nets coordinated support personal, equipment
disbursement and food distribution. In addition to the HF link with the
state EOC, the ARES/RACES team networked the Red Cross shelter, first aid
station, fire command post, three county-wide gateway net control stations
and five mobile radio units via Amateur Radio. "The two fires required the
Red Cross to set up two shelters and first aid stations to deal with two
areas," Sohl said. "Two smaller fires were being suppressed at the same

The ARES/RACES team was able to integrate smoothly into the Red Cross
response activities, Sohl observed. "Feeding this many people can be a
logistical problem," he said. "This chapter has provided such support each
year during fire season, so they know how to do the job correctly and have
found that a radio network can improve efficiency at a time when it can
make a major difference."

Sohl said this week that while the Alto and Hondo fires now are out, high
winds plus a warmer-than-normal winter and a lack of snowfall have
combined to create an extremely high fire danger situation.

In all, more than three dozen amateurs--including ARRL New Mexico Section
Manager Joe Knight, W5PDY--were involved in providing communication
support during the fire emergency. More information is available on the
Lincoln County ARES/RACES Web site <>.


Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, of Boca Raton, Florida, is the new manager of the
Hurricane Watch Net. Pilgrim, who has been the net's second-in-command,
takes over from Jerry Herman, N3BDW, of Bowie, Maryland. Herman announced
this week that he was retiring from the net manager's post after nearly 14
years--11 of them as manager--and turning the reins over to Pilgrim,
effective April 5.

"I feel very comfortable turning the net over to Mike, and I know that he
will continue to maintain the high standards that we have become known
for," Herman said in his announcement letter to HWN members.

Pilgrim has been licensed since 1957, and he's been affiliated with the
HWN for about five years. A long-time ARRL member and member and net
control station for the Maritime Mobile Service Net, he retired from IBM
in 1998 after 33 years. Pilgrim also is the creator of the International
Boat Watch Net <>.

Founded in 1965 by Gerry Murphy, K8YUW, the Hurricane Watch Net activates
14.325 MHz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall
or becomes a serious threat to a populated area. The net collects observed
or measured weather data from amateurs in the affected area and passes
those to National Hurricane Center hurricane forecasters via W4EHW
<>. The net also relays weather bulletins as
they become available from the National Weather Service and the National
Hurricane Center.

Herman said he was very proud of net's accomplishments during his tenure
as net manager. "During that time we have been awarded the Outstanding
Achievement Award from the National Hurricane Conference and the
International Humanitarian Award from ARRL," he noted. "We have
established a very good working relationship with the forecasters at the
National Hurricane Center, the ARRL and the FCC." The HWN also developed a
Web site <> that's been favorably received, Herman

"I realize that none of these accomplishments would have been possible
without the support and hard work of you, the net members who made it
happen," Herman concluded "I thank each of you for your support during my
tenure and ask that you continue to support Mike in the same manner."

Herman said that while he's stepping down as net manager he won't be
stepping away from the net. "I will now have the time to resume on the air
operations as a net control," he said. "I look forward to this role and to
a long relationship with the net." Both Herman and Pilgrim attended the
National Hurricane Conference this week in Orlando, where Herman
officially passed the baton.

Accolades from several quarters followed Herman's announcement of the
changing of the guard. ARRL Field Organization/Public Service Team Manager
Steve Ewald, WV1X, thanked Herman on behalf of the League for leadership
over the years and said ARRL looks forward to working with Pilgrim.

Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, the assistant Amateur Radio coordinator at the
National Hurricane Center's W4EHW, also expressed his appreciation. "Thank
you for you dedication to public service and Amateur Radio for so many
years," Ripoll said.

Retired ARRL Field Services Manager Rick Palm, K1CE, invited Herman to
visit him in Florida and enjoy a little fishing.


The FCC has announced that its Web site functions, databases and telephone
service will be interrupted the weekend of April 5-7. From 9 PM Eastern
Standard Time Friday, April 5, through 1 PM Eastern Daylight Time on
Sunday, April 7, access to the FCC's electronic filing systems--including
the Commission Registration System (CORES) and Universal Licensing System
(ULS)--will be temporarily interrupted during preventative maintenance.

In addition, access to the entire FCC Web site, electronic databases and
other information and telephone services will be interrupted. E-mail sent
to the FCC during the down time will be queued for delivery when the
system is restored on April 7.

The FCC asks that all electronic documents be filed before 9 PM EST on
April 5 or after 1 PM EDT on April 7. In addition to CORES and ULS,
systems affected include the Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS), the
Electronic Document Management System (EDOCS), and the OET Experimental
Licensing Branch Electronic Filing Site.

For more information, see the FCC Public Notice


Propagation prophet Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average
daily solar flux rose last week by 27 points, and average sunspot numbers
was up by more than 9 points. We've had active geomagnetic conditions this
week caused by a stream of high-speed solar wind. This has yielded auroral
displays at high latitudes. Saturday through Wednesday were very active,
and the planetary K index was four during several three-hour periods.

Solar flux for the short term is expected to peak around 215 for Friday
and Saturday, then drift below 200 after Tuesday. Geomagnetic conditions
could become slightly active or unsettled on Saturday. Currently there is
a large complex of sunspots crossing the visible solar disk. A
helioseismic image also shows a pair of large sunspots on the sun's far

Average daily sunspot numbers for the last five quarters, from January 1,
2001, to March 31, 2002, were 147.3, 164.8, 170.4, 198.1 and 178.3.
Average daily solar flux for the same five periods was 164.4, 166.7,
175.5, 219.1 and 203.9. Both solar flux and sunspot numbers were higher
this past quarter than the first three quarters of 2001, but lower than
the last quarter of last year, which had a lot of activity.

Average sunspot numbers for the past five months, November through March,
were 178.6, 217.5, 189, 194.5 and 153.1. Average daily solar flux for the
same five months was 215.8, 236.5, 227.3, 205, and 179.5.

We can definitely see the peak that occurred around December, and that
January of this year had more activity than November of last year. But
March solar flux and sunspots were definitely down.

Sunspot numbers for March 28 through April 3 were 144, 189, 171, 133, 189,
262 and 162, with a mean of 178.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 176.2, 181.3,
188.7, 204.4, 207, 206 and 209.4, with a mean of 196.1. Estimated
planetary A indices were 6, 7, 17, 14, 16, 15 and 13 with a mean of 12.6.



* This weekend on the radio: The MARAC County Hunters Contest (SSB), the
SP DX Contest, the EA RTTY Contest and the Missouri QSO Party are the
weekend of April 6-7. JUST AHEAD: The 222 MHz Spring Sprint is Apr 9. The
YLRL DX to NA YL Contest (CW) is April 10-12. The JIDX HF CW Contest, the
QRP ARCI Spring QSO Party, the EU Spring Sprint (SSB)  His Majesty the
King of Spain Contest, the Yuri Gagarin International DX Contest and the
UBA Spring Contest (SSB) are the weekend of April 13-14. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more info.

* Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Registration
for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course
(EC-001) will remain open through the April 6-7 weekend. Registration for
the Level II Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course (EC-002) and
for the Antenna Modeling Course (EC-004) opens Monday, April 8;
registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Course (EC-003) opens Monday, April 15. All registrations open at 4 PM
Eastern Time. ARRL Emergency Communications courses must be completed in
order, starting with Level I. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification
and Continuing Education Web page <> and the C-CE
Links found there. For more information, contact Certification and
Continuing Education Program Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG,

* ARRL to be represented at NAB convention: Amateur Radio again will have
a presence at this year's National Association of Broadcasters convention
in Las Vegas, Nevada, April 6-11. NAB donates booth space to the ARRL, and
the League's booth (L3316) will be staffed by local volunteers. Serving as
this year's "booth coordinator" is Bill Cornelius, K8XC, president of the
Las Vegas Radio Amateur Club. The ARRL booth is visited by hams in the
broadcasting business and others interested in technology and electronics.
ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, and Pacific Division Director Jim
Maxwell, W6CF, also plan to be on hand. On Wednesday, April 10, hams will
gather at the Las Vegas Hilton for the annual Amateur Radio Operator's
Reception. CQ and Kenwood Communications are sponsoring the event, which
is expected to draw nearly 1000 amateurs. ARRL donated several
publications for door prizes. NAB Vice President for Science and
Technology John Marino, KR1O, will emcee the reception. President Haynie,
Director Maxwell and others are expected to speak.

* British ham-sailor expresses gratitude for amateurs' assistance: David
Beane, G0TAG, this week expressed his thanks to members of the Maritime
Mobile Service Net, who assisted him and his wife, Sarah, after their
sailing vessel Tao went aground March 26 off Cuba. Amateurs were able to
contact Cuban authorities, who secured the vessel and later helped to
refloat it. "Having got our brains back together after our nasty incident
we wish to send our thanks to the guys on the Maritime Mobile Net who
acted with such efficiency when we went aground on the north coast of
Cuba," Beane said. "The Cubans helped to lay out our anchors and stood by
us during the night." They also arranged for a tow boat, Beane said, but
as it turned out, a tow was not needed as the couple managed to get their
sailboat into deeper water by themselves. Cuban fishermen then escorted
the Tao into the ocean through a gap in the reef, and in port at Moa, two
divers checked out the underside for damage--all at no cost, "just a lot
of smiling and waving." Beane said.

* Meteor scatter rally announced: Meteor scatter enthusiasts now have an
operating event to call their own. The 2002 North American Meteor Scatter
Rally, sponsored by WA5UFH, KM5ES, and K1JT, is aimed at promoting the use
of VHF/UHF meteor-scatter communication techniques. The event is set for
April 27 through May 5--to take advantage of the Eta Aquarids meteor
shower. The idea is to work as many stations as possible in as many grid
squares as possible via meteor scatter on the bands above 50 MHz. Rally
rules and entry forms are posted on the WA5UFH Meteor Scatter Web site
<> as well as on the WSJT Meteor Scatter/Weak
Signal Group site
<>;.--Randy Tipton,

* New England QSO Party set for May: A combined QSO party for the six New
England states--Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode
Island and Vermont--will take place the first weekend in May. It will
replace the individual state QSO parties. The inaugural NEQP will be held
Saturday and Sunday, May 4-5, starting at 2000 UTC Saturday until 0300 UTC
Sunday (4 PM until 11 PM Saturday Eastern Daylight Time) and resuming at
1100 UTC Sunday until 2400 UTC Sunday (7 AM until 8 PM Eastern Daylight
Time Sunday). New England stations may work anyone. The NEQP includes
mobile or fixed categories for single operator--high-power, low-power and
QRP--and multi-operator, single transmitter. Certificates will be awarded
to the top scorers in each New England county, US state, Canadian province
and DXCC entity, and special plaques will be awarded to top scorers. For
full information, visit the New England QSO Party Web site
<>. Address questions via e-mail to

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for March was Jim Millner, WB2REM, for his article "I-Link, the .WAV of
the Future." Congratulations, Jim! 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 April 2002 issue
of QST. Voting ends April 30.

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
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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
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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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