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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 16
April 19, 2002


* +Comments invited on Amateur Radio-related petitions
* +ARRL offers members expanded contest coverage on Web
* +Chalk up two more successful school contacts for NA1SS
* +ARISS International pledges cooperation with Canada
* +Ham radio manufacturers, dealers form trade group
* +Long Island club reports success with one-day Extra class
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     FCC okays geographic area AMTS licensing, agrees to consider ARRL
     Atlantic Division ARRL Director gets Scouting award
    +New Hampshire SATERN volunteers honored
     P5/4L4FN QSL cards imminent
     Signing antenna bill was his pleasure, governor says
     Evan Nepean, G5YN, SK
     International Marconi Day special events
     United Arab Emirates team invited to WRTC 2002
     Visalia DX dinner set

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Comments are due by May 16 on two Amateur Radio-related Petitions for Rule
Making put on public notice this week by the FCC. An ARRL petition,
designated RM-10413, would eliminate the 80, 40 and 15-meter
Novice/Technician Plus CW subbands and reuse the spectrum in part to
expand the 80 and 40-meter phone allocations. Another petition filed by
Nick Leggett, N3NL, designated RM-10412, would require most commercially
manufactured Amateur Radio transmitters and transceivers to be
field-repairable "in some manner."

Amateurs may view and comment on these proposals via the FCC's Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS), (Click
on "Search for Filed Comments." In the "Proceeding" field enter the
rulemaking number, with "RM" in upper-case and the hyphen included.)

The ARRL's petition, filed in March, asks the FCC to eliminate the Novice
and Technician-Plus CW bands and reapportion these "inefficiently deployed
segments" to alleviate overcrowding elsewhere. If the FCC goes along,
current Novice and Technician Plus (ie, Technician with Element 1 credit)
licensees would be permitted to operate on the 80, 40, 15 and 10-meter
General-class CW allocations at up to 200 W output. For General and higher
class operators, the ARRL plan would implement changes in the 80, 40 and
15-meter phone bands, expanding phone segments for many amateurs.

The League's petition also seeks FCC permission to use spread spectrum on
222-225 MHz; to expand the pool of special event call signs beyond the 1x1
format to include identifiers for US territories and possessions that do
not provide for mailing addresses; to clarify rules to indicate that
modulated CW (MCW) is permitted for repeater station identification; and
to incorporate into the rules a 1990 FCC waiver authorizing amateurs in
certain areas of Colorado and Wyoming to operate on certain segments of
the 33-cm band.

The Leggett petition was filed in February. "Field repair is important to
the Amateur Radio Service because it enhances emergency communications
preparedness and the growth of technical knowledge in the Amateur Radio
Service," Leggett said in his petition.

Leggett suggests that the FCC consider mandating easily replaceable
modules or circuit boards, minimum component spacings on circuit boards,
removable integrated circuits mounted in sockets and other requirements
for commercially made amateur transmitters and transceivers. He would
exempt ham radio receivers.

Leggett concedes that some manufacturers may drop out of the amateur
market if the FCC were to adopt his recommendations, but he suggests that
they would be replaced by other manufacturers, such as those making QRP

Last December, Leggett and attorney Don Schellhardt petitioned the FCC to
require that all electronic equipment subject to FCC jurisdiction be
shielded against electromagnetic pulse (EMP) damage.


ARRL has expanded its on-line coverage of ARRL-sponsored contests. A new
membership service supplements contest coverage in QST and enhances what's
already available via the ARRL Web site. The augmented coverage premiered
April 19 with the results of the 2001 ARRL November Sweepstakes (CW).
Among the new features is an interactive, searchable database of contest
line scores.

"Contesting has come a long way since the old paper logs, broken pencils,
and hand-scored results," said ARRL Contest Branch Manager Dan Henderson,
N1ND. "The addition of expanded ARRL contest results on our Web site takes
contest reporting to the next level."

Access to the new services is limited to ARRL members, who must first be
logged onto the ARRL Web site with user name and password. All expanded
coverage is linked from the ARRL Contest Results page

In addition to the information normally presented in QST, the new
searchable database will include band-by-band QSO breakdowns for all
participants, as well as hours operated and any club affiliation. The
database will be searchable by call sign and entry class as well as by
ARRL section, division or club. Results can be sorted by several criteria.

Another new feature is a more extensive Soapbox for each contest that will
allow entrants to share their observations and photographs right after a

Largely freed of the limitations of print media, the upgraded Web-based
coverage will treat ARRL members to a contest narrative that includes more
detailed analysis, more sidebar stories and more visual images than what
typically appears in QST. Updated contest category records also will be
part of the expanded coverage, with details for each entry category and
ARRL division and section plus overall category records.

ARRL continues to offer members and nonmembers a downloadable Adobe PDF of
the QST article for each contest as it becomes available, plus contest
rules and forms, the ARRL contest calendar, and the "Contest Corral" from
QST. ARRL members also may subscribe to the ARRL Contest Rate Sheet
<>, the new biweekly e-mail
newsletter for contesters that debuted in March.

Initially, the ARRL's expanded Web coverage will be a "work in progress,"
Henderson said. "Formats of the on-line portion of our contest coverage
will be flexible, allowing us to improve its presentation as we try to
keep it as user-friendly as possible." The Contest Branch welcomes
feedback from members via e-mail,, or telephone,


Astronaut Dan Bursch, KD5PNU, aboard the International Space Station this
week took time out of a busier-than-usual schedule to answer questions via
ham radio from an enthusiastic throng of elementary schoolers. The April
16 contact with Quogue School on New York's Long Island gave 10 youngsters
a chance to pose 17 questions to Bursch. On April 11, astronaut Carl Walz,
KC5TIE, was interviewed via ham radio by youngsters at Caribbean
Preparatory School in Puerto Rico. Both contacts with NA1SS were arranged
through the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station--or

"We don't get a whole lot of free time," Bursch acknowledged in response
to a question from Emily Hubbard at Quogue School. "Right now the
shuttle's docked, and we pretty much have no free time." A crowd of some
120 classmates and some 100 parents and other guests gathered in the
school's auditorium to witness the Earth-to-space ham radio interview.

Sixth grader Colleen McKennet wanted to know how the crew got streaming
video from Earth. Bursch replied that the crew used ProShare
teleconferencing software aboard the ISS. Jared Carpenter wanted to know
what DVDs the crew liked to watch. "Probably a mixture of comedy and
action films," was Bursch's reply.

Third grader Sara Garcia asked what foods would not be good in space.
Bursch explained that the worst foods were "anything that's crumbly" like
cookies, because the crumbs float around and get into everything.

Shouts and cheers erupted from the audience after signals from the ISS
faded over the North Atlantic horizon. "We did it!," coordinating teacher
Roberta Keis, N2RBU, said after the excitement died down a bit. Keis said
when the contact was over, the kids enjoyed one of the very foods not on
the ISS menu--cookies! The post-contact celebration concluded
several-months of classroom emphasis on space-related topics.

Members of the Peconic Amateur Radio Club set up the ground-station and
antennas. ARRL Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, was on hand
for the event. A WorldCom teleconferencing circuit carried audio to
various listeners; ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
listened in while from Washington, DC. Audio also went out via the IRLP
(Internet Repeater Linking Project).

On April 11, students attending the Caribbean Preparatory School in San
Juan, Puerto Rico, successfully completed Puerto Rico's first ARISS
contact. Earth-station support came from the Puerto Rico DX Club and local
amateurs, including Gladys MuŮoz, NP3BY, a physics teacher at the school,
Oscar Resto, KP4RF, and Angel Padilla, WP4G.

During the contact, 10 students were able to talk with Walz. As newspaper
and TV reporters, fellow students and teachers looked on, the Caribbean
Prep students asked questions that ranged from serious inquiries about
space exploration to "What do you do with your dirty underwear?"

"Carl answered every question with great enthusiasm," said ARRL Puerto
Rico Section Manager Victor Madera, KP4PQ, who added that downlink audio
was easy to copy. "During the approximately 10-minute contact, you could
hear a pin drop in the packed auditorium." Students and visitors concluded
the event with a standing ovation, Madera said.

ARISS is an international project, with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT
and NASA.--Gene Chapline, K5YFL; Victor Madera, KP4PQ


The Amateur Radio on the International Space Station International Group
and the Canadian Space Agency have agreed in principle to cooperate in
areas of mutual interest such as educational outreach, public relations
and Amateur Radio licensing of Canadian astronauts. The announcement
during the ARISS committee meeting at the Canadian Space Agency in Ste
Hubert, Quebec, April 4-6 prompted applause from delegates and observers.
ARISS and CSA will hammer out the specifics of an umbrella agreement in
the coming weeks.

Marilyn Steinberg of the CSA's Education Office outlined CSA's educational
outreach programs and successful Canadian ARISS QSO activity. She told the
gathering she sees a lot of potential in the ARISS program and that she'd
like to see expanded Canadian participation in future ARISS school
contacts. Steinberg also said she planned to explore ways to have more
Canadian astronauts become licensed.

ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, serves
as ARISS International Secretary-Treasurer and also represented ARRL at
the session. She chairs the Educational Outreach School Selection
Committee. "No matter how many times I monitor ARISS school QSOs, it still
excites me when the connection is successful," White said.

Those attending the meeting, moderated by Roy Neal, K6DUE, learned that
the remaining two Amateur Radio antennas are scheduled for installation on
the ISS Service Module. ARISS International Chairman Frank Bauer, KA3HDO,
said the antennas would be installed during spacewalks either this summer
by the Expedition 5 crew or in late 2002 or early 2003 by the Expedition 6
crew. The flexible tape antennas are designed for either VHF or UHF use.
The gathering also heard updates on so-called Phase 2 Amateur Radio
hardware. Crews continue to use the ARISS initial station hardware, which
consists primarily of 2-meter and 70-cm hand-held transceivers.

An ARISS slow-scan television system called SpaceCam also may be in the
offing, although no installation timetable has been set. At this point,
testing and development of SSTV system components continues. ARISS
delegates also said they would welcome a proposal for an Amateur Radio
external payload to be developed by the US Naval Academy and ARISS, with
US Navy sponsorship.


A new ham industry trade organization, the American Association of Radio
Enthusiasts (AARE), has been formed to promote Amateur Radio and emergency
communications outside traditional amateur circles. The nonprofit
corporation also hopes to serve as a conduit for ham radio equipment
dealers and manufacturers to exchange ideas and work together on projects.
Its stated goal is to help ham radio grow and to double the number of hams
in five years.

"We look forward to encompassing all aspects of the Amateur Radio
industry--retail dealers, manufacturers and distributors," said ICOM's Ray
Novak, KC7JPA, who was chosen to serve as AARE's first president. "This
umbrella organization will provide an important focal point leading to a
great future."

Members of the Amateur Radio industry decided to create the trade group
during an informal annual meeting of Amateur Radio manufacturers held
April 5 in Milwaukee in conjunction with AES Superfest 2002. The
organization says it hopes to serve as "the voice of the manufacturers and
dealers in radio," much as ARRL speaks for Amateur Radio operators.

In addition to Novak, officers named to guide AARE through its first year
include Vice President Rick Ruhl, W4PC, of Creative Services Software, and
Secretary-Treasurer Evelyn Garrison, WS7A, who represents Alinco.

The AARE Web site <>, now under construction, will
provide additional information. Dealers and manufacturers of radio
products interested in joining AARE should contact Evelyn Garrison,


New York's Long Island Mobile Amateur Radio Club--LIMARC--reports its
first "one-day Extra" licensing upgrade class was such a success that it's
scheduled additional sessions for later this spring. LIMARC recently
attracted two dozen students to its first Extra class license study short
course, and nearly all who attended walked away with their Extra tickets.

ARRL New York City-Long Island Section Manager George Tranos, N2GA, is
LIMARC's education co-chair. He says the session involves seven hours of
intensive study. Five instructors taught the nine Extra examination
subelements, which include FCC rules, operating procedures, radio
propagation, Amateur Radio practices, electrical principles, circuit
components, practical circuits and antennas and feedlines.

When the session ended, 20 of the 24 applicants had passed Element 4.
Students ranged from a veteran with 50 years' experience as a licensee to
newcomers licensed only about one year. Many said they'd studied for
months prior to the class, but some had spent just a couple of days
reviewing the material.

LIMARC has previously run one and two-day courses for Technician and
General. "Amateur Radio is a wonderful hobby and important national
resource," said Tranos, who helped coordinate the response of amateurs in
his section to the September 11 World Trade Center attack. "Each of us has
an opportunity to learn as much or as little as we want. There are many
subject areas to investigate, and a lifetime of learning is possible."

LIMARC has scheduled another weekend Extra class for June 15. For more
information, visit the LIMARC Web site <>.


Solar sage Tad Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington, reports: Average daily
sunspot number was up slightly and the average solar flux was down a
couple of points this week, but the big news was the high geomagnetic
activity. On Wednesday the planetary A index was 41, and K indices over
several reporting periods were six, which is very high. The high latitude
College A index was 73, and the College K index reached 7.

On April 15 at 0400 UTC a full halo coronal mass ejection blasted away
from the sun. At 1100 UTC on April 17 energy from that coronal mass
ejection struck Earth's magnetosphere, triggering a geomagnetic storm.
Several hours earlier another coronal mass ejection left the sun, and
effects from it may be felt on Friday or Saturday.

On Thursday the prediction from the US Air Force was for a planetary A
index of 40 on Friday, 50 on Saturday and 20 on Sunday. It also shows
solar flux bottoming out for the short term around 170 on Sunday or
Monday, then rising above 200 after April 29.

With a predicted geomagnetic storm this weekend, expect particularly bad
propagation over polar paths, conditions worsening for higher latitudes,
and some transequatorial propagation--but only because that may be the
only HF propagation available, not because TE propagation (signals
crossing the equator) is enhanced during geomagnetic storms.

Sunspot numbers for April 11 through 17 were 235, 263, 257, 236, 243, 172
and 137, with a mean of 220.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 197.4, 211.9, 226,
210.3, 203.3, 195.7 and 193.5, with a mean of 205.4. Estimated planetary A
indices were 13, 13, 14, 13, 7, 10 and 41 with a mean of 15.9.



* This weekend on the radio: YLRL DX to NA YL Contest (SSB), the 432 MHz
Spring Sprint, the Holyland DX Contest, the TARA Spring Wakeup PSK31
Rumble, the ES Open HF Championship, the YU DX Contest, the GACW CW DX
Contest, the EU Spring Sprint (CW), and the Michigan and Ontario QSO
parties are the weekend of April 20-21. The Harry Angel Memorial Sprint is
Apr 25. JUST AHEAD: The SP DX RTTY Contest, the Helvetia Contest, the QRP
to the Field event, and the Florida and Nebraska QSO parties are the
weekend of April 27-28. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Course (EC-003) will remain open over the April 20-21 weekend or until all
seats are filled. Registration for the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Course (EC-001) opens Monday, May 6, and registration for
Level II (EC-002) opens Monday, May 13, at 4 PM on both days. 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. Don't miss
the ARRL Course Listing Web page <>.
For more information, contact Certification and Continuing Education
Coordinator Dan Miller, K3UFG,

* Corrections: The Turkish Amateur Radio Club--Telsiz Radyo Amatorleri
Cemiyeti--or TRAC--marked WTDC-02 with an Amateur Radio special event
station, TA1KA/ITU, at the conference site. The call sign was incorrect in
a report in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 15 (Apr 12, 2002). The ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Program added its first technical
offering, a class in Antenna Modeling (EC-004), in February. The month was
incorrect in a report in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 15 (Apr 12, 2002).

* FCC okays geographic area AMTS licensing, agrees to consider ARRL
request: The FCC has approved proposed rules allowing geographic-based
licensing of coast stations in the Automated Maritime Telecommunications
Service (AMTS), the primary user of the 219-220 MHz band. The Commission
also agreed to consider an ARRL petition for changes in the rules
governing the secondary amateur allocation at 219-220 MHz. Amateur use of
the band within 80 km of an AMTS coast station is currently requires
permission from the AMTS licensee, and industry practice has been to
routinely deny such requests, regardless of channel separation. The FCC
will consider whether AMTS licensees denying permission should be required
to give a technical justification for the denial in conjunction with the
ongoing 3G proceeding (ET Docket 00-221) that's considering use of 216-220
MHz for new technologies.

* Atlantic Division ARRL Director gets Scouting award: ARRL Atlantic
Division Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, has received the District Award of
Merit from the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Fuller
was recognized for his work with the Venturing program of the Boy Scouts
in his capacity as Venturing Chairman of the council's Oliver Perry
District. The District Award of Merit is the highest award that a district
can bestow upon a volunteer. The Venturing program of the French Creek
Council was recognized recently as second in the nation during the past
year in terms of increased participation and number of new Venturing
Crews. Fuller also has been elected Vice President-Venturing of the French
Creek Council Executive Board. In his new volunteer position, he is
responsible for the Venturing program for the entire Council, one of the
largest in the US. The Venturing arm of the Boy Scouts of America is
composed of young men and women ages 14 through 20. A number of Venturing
Crews who have chosen to concentrate their activities around Amateur

* New Hampshire SATERN volunteers honored: Salvation Army Team Emergency
Radio Network volunteers Steve and Kim Merrill, KB1DIG and KB1GTR, have
received a certificate of appreciation from their state's chief executive,
New Hampshire Gov Jean Shaheen. The Merrills were among the amateurs who
turned out in New York City to help in the wake of the September 11
terrorist attack on the World Trade Center. "We are proud of your
representation of New Hampshire following the tragedy of September 11th,"
the certificate reads. "You are among the many Amateur Radio operators
from around the country whose participation in the rescue efforts will
never be forgotten."

* P5/4L4FN QSL cards imminent: Bruce Paige, KK5DO, the QSL manager for Ed
Giorgadze, P5/4L4FN in North Korea says he expects to receive the first
printing run of P5/4L4FN QSL cards this week and hopes to have all QSLs
out by May 1. Paige said that any stateside operator who mails for a QSL
after May 15 must include 37 cents postage to cover the new first-class
mail rate going into effect June 30. "I have 2900 requests for cards," he
said. P5/4L4FN has made more than 6000 QSOs, and his stay in North Korea
has been extended until June 2003. Only SSB contacts with P5/4L4FN have
been approved for DXCC credit. He said P5/4L4FN continues to frequent
21.225 MHz. Paige said P5/4L4FN will be on a trip to Vietnam and Thailand
from April 23 until May 4 and may also be on the air from those countries.

* Signing antenna bill was his pleasure, governor says: Wisconsin Gov
Scott McCallum has acknowledged letters and e-mail messages he received in
support of the Amateur Radio antenna bill--Assembly Bill 368--which he
signed into law April 2. Based on the FCC's PRB-1 limited federal
preemption, the measure requires political subdivisions to "reasonably
accommodate" Amateur Radio communication and not unnecessarily hamper the
placement or height of Amateur Radio antennas and towers. "Wisconsin's
Amateur Radio operators . . . provide a valuable backup for traditional
public safety communications systems," the governor wrote. He also noted
that hams have worked closely with the Red Cross, The Salvation Army,
local emergency governments and law enforcement agencies following
emergencies and disasters. "It was my pleasure to sign AB 368 into law,"
McCallum concluded. "Thank you again for taking the time to contact my

* Evan Nepean, G5YN, SK: The London Times reports that Sir Evan Nepean,
G5YN, ex-AC4YN, died March 11. He was 92. Nepean was active from Tibet as
AC4YN from 1936-1939. The Times said that Nepean was the longest-serving
member (75 years) of the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB). According
to the newspaper account, Nepean packed a transmitter and home-built
receiver across the 14,600-foot Natu La pass from India into Tibet. The
engine running the battery charger would not work at Tibet's altitude, so
a hand-cranked charger was built in India and carried back to Tibet, the
newspaper said. An AC4YN QSL card recently sold on an Internet auction
site for more than $1100.--John Warren, NT5C

* International Marconi Day special events: To commemorate International
Marconi Day April 27, the Maritime Radio Historical Society will operate
special event K6KPH (starting at 1700 UTC) using the original
transmitters, receivers and antennas of ex-RCA coast station KPH, and
Radio Austria International will operate special event station OE1M. K6KPH
transmitting frequencies will be 7050, 14,050 and 21050 kHz and
occasionally 3545 kHz. K6KPH QSLs and reception reports go to D.A. Stoops,
PO Box 381, Bolinas CA 94924-0381. For OE1M details visit the Radio
Austria International Web site <>. Current
working frequencies will be announced on the Web site. Operators entering
their call signs in the "QRZ" field will immediately get a call on the
band from OE1M. International Marconi Day
<> takes place each year on a
weekend close to the birthday of radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi.

* United Arab Emirates team invited to WRTC 2002: The WRTC 2002 Organizing
Committee has invited a team from the United Arab Emirates to be the
representative of the contesting community in the Middle East. While Team
UAE will be led by Ali Al-Futtaim, A61AJ, the two team members are
well-known US operators--Jeff Briggs, K1ZM, and Phil Goetz, N6ZZ. "In the
spirit of the games, a team has been selected that is representative of
the current A61AJ operating roster," the committee said in announcing the
special team selection.--WRTC 2002

* Visalia DX dinner set: The Northern California Contest Club presents the
fourth annual International DX Convention Contest Dinner Friday, April 26,
7 PM. The dinner is in conjunction with the 53rd International DX
Convention, April 26-28 in Visalia, California. Details are available on
the International DX Convention Web site

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

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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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