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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 21, No. 27
July 12, 2002


* +League addresses FCC spectrum policy
* +Hams aid Texas flood response
* +FCC officially sets higher vanity call sign fee
* +WRTC 2002 under way in Finland
*  W1AW, NU1AW IARU HF operations planned in Texas, Virginia
* +Rocket launch carrying ham radio foiled by weather
* +New Foundation ticket boosts ham radio in the UK
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Additional ARRL Field Day 2002 pins to be available
    +South Carolina amateur celebrates July 4 with ISS QSO
     Amateur 220-222 MHz band under attack in Canada
     Emergency Communication Course offered at New England Division

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The ARRL has told the FCC that marketplace forces should not determine
Amateur Radio spectrum allocations and that interference management is a
technical, not an economic, issue. Those opinions and others came this
week in response to a call in early June from the FCC Spectrum Policy Task
Force for comments on various issues related to FCC spectrum policy.

"The value to the public of a vital, growing Amateur Radio Service, while
perhaps only indirectly measurable in market terms, cannot translate to a
marketplace ability to pay for spectrum, no matter what the mechanism,"
the League asserted. "The non-pecuniary character of Amateur Radio makes
it uniquely unsuitable for market-oriented allocation processes." Such a
policy, the ARRL said, would "preclude Amateur Radio communications."

The ARRL compared Amateur Radio spectrum to a public park or right-of-way.
"Given the wide availability of Amateur Radio to the general public and
its value as an educational and public service resource, the concept fits
well," the League said.

The ARRL said that "economic balancing" among parties is not the proper
mechanism to resolve interference issues. From an Amateur Radio
perspective, the League said, "any economic model for interference
resolution would effectively place it and other non-commercial services at
the mercy of any commercial device manufacturer or industry group." Many
interference issues are dealt with using technical solutions that
accommodate both parties, the ARRL said, while an economic model presumes
a preference for one service over another.

The ARRL again took advantage of the comment opportunity to reiterate its
views on the deployment of unlicensed devices under Part 15 rules.
Petitioners seeking authorization for new devices or technology that
impacts licensed users should "have the burden of demonstrating the
current state of use of the band by its own technical calculations or
measurements in certain types of environments," the ARRL said. "As to
spectrum congestion, that is perhaps the area about which the Commission
has the least information and about which it should have the most."

Noting its participation in a noise study that will contribute to a better
understanding about ambient noise, the ARRL said the FCC should require
proponents of new devices or technology to provide "studies of individual
and aggregate interference potential and effect on ambient noise."

The League also restated its view that unlicensed devices cannot be
authorized unless the FCC determines that the devices "do not have a
significant interference potential to licensed services." The ARRL said
the FCC "has pushed the Part 15 concept beyond the point that it works; no
unlicensed device should be permitted to substitute for licensed fixed or
mobile radio services."

Petitioners also should provide technical sharing studies every time they
propose a new allocation or file a petition for a new unlicensed service,
the ARRL said. The League's comments reiterated the goal of the Amateur
Radio Spectrum Protection Act
<> now in Congress as HR 817
and S 549. The measure would provide equivalent replacement spectrum for
the Amateur Service just as it typically does for users displaced as a
result of spectrum auctions.

The full text of the ARRL's comments in this proceeding is available on
the ARRL Web site


More than 150 Texas amateurs--most of them working through the Amateur
Radio Emergency Service (ARES)--this week have been supporting flood
response and relief efforts in flood-ravaged areas of Texas. ARRL South
Texas Section Manager Ray Taylor, N5NAV, reports that ARES teams are
assisting the American Red Cross, the Baptist Men's Kitchen and The
Salvation Army in their efforts to feed, clothe and shelter flood victims
and to provide them with household essentials as they begin the massive

"We're in real trouble down here and it could get worse," Taylor said,
noting that flood runoff now headed for the Gulf of Mexico could raise
river levels in eastern and east-central Texas. Emergency responders were
keeping an eye on the weather forecast for additional rainfall.

Although an FCC-declared communications emergency for 7285 and 3873 kHz
has been terminated, responding agencies did make use of HF for both
health-and-welfare and tactical communications, Taylor said. By week's
end, most amateur communication related to the flood emergency had
migrated to VHF and UHF, but HF nets remained active as needed. Repeater
linking systems have been activated to reduce or eliminate reliance on HF,
Taylor said. Earlier in the week, however, Taylor said amateur HF had
provided the only reliable communication in and out of some flood-stricken
communities. Telephone and cellular telephone service remains erratic in a
few spots, he said.

Taylor, who lives in New Braunfels--just northeast of San Antonio--said
his own house suffered some damage to the pier and beam support structure
as a result of nonstop rain between June 30 and July 6. The rainfall,
which generated some of the worst flooding in 100 years, caused the
cancellation of Independence Day activities in many communities and forced
thousands to flee their homes. Some areas of central Texas--which had been
suffering drought conditions--got nearly three feet of rain.

Taylor said the Baptist Men's Kitchen, the American Red Cross and The
Salvation Army continue operations--including shelters--in more than a
dozen communities with Amateur Radio support. The Salvation Army this week
put out a call for additional Amateur Radio volunteers to assist during
the day with communications on its canteen vehicles.


The FCC has officially set $14.50 as the cost to apply for, renew or
reinstate an Amateur Radio vanity call sign. According to a Report and
Order adopted July 3, the new fee will become effective for applications
received on or after September 9. The current vanity fee is $12 for the
10-year license term. The FCC had proposed the new, higher fee in a Notice
of Proposed Rulemaking (MD Docket No. 02-64) released March 27 to set
Fiscal Year 2002 fees.

In its R&O, the FCC took the opportunity to justify its charging the
vanity fee for vanity renewals as well as for initial applications. In
comments filed in the proceeding, the FCC said, Steven Karty, N5SK, and
William J. Hanrahan, W1WH, supported the payment of a regulatory fee to
cover the initial administrative cost but questioned having to pay the fee
upon renewal.

Hanrahan suggested that the FCC should be able to reasonably adjust the
fee it charges initial vanity call sign applicants based upon actual
administrative costs and that renewals should not incur any additional
overhead. "Further, subsequent to the initial license term, no distinction
should be made between vanity calls and systemically assigned calls,"
Hanrahan commented. The FCC now distinguishes between vanity and
sequential call signs in its database as "HV" and "HA" respectively.

The FCC said that because it continues to incur costs related to vanity
call signs even after their issuance or renewal, it believes the
regulatory fee at renewal is appropriate. "Section 9 of the Communications
Act, as amended, provides for the recovery of the Commission's costs
associated with its enforcement, policy and rulemaking, user information,
and international activities," the FCC said in its Report and Order.
"Every day, Commission staff are engaged in activities involving amateur
vanity call signs, such as protecting the assignment of vanity call signs,
investigating complaints on the improper or illegal usage of call signs,
requests for call signs that are already assigned to someone else, and all
related research that is necessary to insure the proper assignment of call

The FCC said it must collect nearly $218.8 million through regulatory fees
to recover its costs for FY2002. That's $18.6 million--or approximately
9.3 percent--more than the amount designated for recovery through
regulatory fees in FY2001. Of the total, the FCC estimated vanity fee
revenue for FY2002 at $130,500. The FCC has estimated that 9000 applicants
would apply for vanity call signs in FY2002.

A copy of the FCC Report and Order is available on the FCC Web site


A real-time Internet scoreboard will be among the highlights of World
Radiosport Team Championship 2002 in Finland. The event began July 9, and
the on-air portion of the international Amateur Radio competition will get
under way July 13 as 52 teams from around the globe compete for the gold.
The real-time scoreboard <> is a WRTC first.
Competitors' claimed scores will be available to both the public and to
contest participants during the event.

"This is truly groundbreaking!" said QST and NCJ Contributing Editor Ward
Silver, N0AX, who's been filing daily reports on the proceedings from
Finland via the WRTC 2002 Web site <>.
"This will expose many more amateurs to the dynamics of contesting, as
well as members of the general public that may take an interest in this
strange Radiosport business." WRTC 2002 referees will report each team's
score to a central server via mobile telephone.

WRTC 2002 is being organized jointly by Contest Club Finland
<> and the Finnish Amateur Radio League--SRAL

Last held in Slovenia in July 2000, the WRTC is a competition among
two-person teams drawn from among the world's top Amateur Radio
contesters. The idea is to minimize the variables associated with radio
contesting, thereby emphasizing each team's operating skills. All stations
will be located in the same geographical vicinity, will run 100 W and will
employ comparably modest antenna systems--a dipole for the low bands and a
triband Yagi for the higher bands.

The on-the-air portion of the event takes place in conjunction with the
IARU HF World Championship
<>. WRTC 2002 and
the IARU HF Championship begin on the air at 1200 UTC on July 13 and
conclude 24 hours later. WRTC 2002 wraps up July 16.

The WRTC 2002 Organizing Committee this week announced the list of special
call signs that will be used by the 52 participating teams. All are from
the OJ1 through OJ8 prefix block. They are: OJ1C, OJ1F, OJ1M, OJ1N, OJ1S,
OJ1W and OJ1X; OJ2F, OJ2H, OJ2J, OJ2Q, OJ2V, OJ2Y and OJ2Z; OJ3A, OJ3D,
OJ3N, OJ3R, OJ3T and OJ3X; OJ4A, OJ4M, OJ4N, OJ4S and OJ4W; OJ5A, OJ5E,
OJ5M, OJ5T, OJ5U, OJ5W and OJ5Z; OJ6C, OJ6E, OJ6K, OJ6N, OJ6W, OJ6X and
OJ6Y; OJ7A, OJ7C, OJ7M, OJ7N, OJ7S, OJ7W and OJ7Xl; and OJ8A, OJ8E, OJ8K,
OJ8L, OJ8N and OJ8W. A checklist in the form of an Excel spreadsheet is
available from the WRTC 2002 Web site

WRTC 2002 is offering awards and plaques for those working all of the
special OJ-prefix call signs. In addition, those submitting logs within
six hours of the end of the contest will qualify for special prizes.
Details are on the WRTC 2002 Web site

The submission deadline for logs is July 31, 2002. All logs should be sent
via e-mail to The subject field of the e-mail should
contain the call sign used for the contest. The WRTC 2002 Organizing
Committee has requested all stations operating in the IARU event to submit
electronic logs to the WRTC 2002 contest committee to aid in log checking.

WRTC 2000 winners Dan Street, K1TO, and Jeff Steinman, N5TJ, will be
defending their title at WRTC 2002. The K1TO-N5TJ duo also topped the
field at WRTC 96.

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, and Pekka Lšnsman of
Finland will co-chair the judging committee for the event. Sumner was the
chief judge for WRTC 2000 in Slovenia. Competitors with close ARRL
connections include Dave Patton, NT1N, an HQ staffer, as well as former
staff members Rus Healy, K2UA, and Tom Frenaye, K1KI--who's now ARRL New
England Division director and a past ARRL Vice President. Among the
referees are ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, and ARRL
Sales and Marketing Manager Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV.


Maxim Memorial Station W1AW and International Amateur Radio Union club
station NU1AW will be on the air during the IARU HF World Championship
July 13-14. Both will count as "HQ" station multipliers for the event.
W1AW will operate from Texas, while NU1AW will operate from Virginia for
the event. ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ--who serves as IARU secretary and
trustee for both call signs--said the NU1AW operation will mark the first
time that call sign has been operated outside the first call district.

Six well-equipped Austin-area contest stations will sign W1AW/5 on 160
through 10 meters, CW and SSB. "We expect to have as many as 40 dedicated
operators, mostly from the Central Texas DX & Contest Club
<>, involved in this effort," said organizer Richard
King K5NA. "We want to produce the best score ever done from the USA by
any HQ station effort in the past."

Two of Virginia's premier contest stations--Bob Morris' W4MYA and Paul
Hellenberg's K4JA--will host IARU Headquarters Station NU1AW for the
annual IARU event. NU1AW/4 also will be active on CW and SSB on all six
contest bands. Operators are affiliated with the Potomac Valley Radio
Club, Central Virginia Contest Club and the Northern Neck Contest Club.

Certificates will be awarded to the high-scoring entry in each category in
each ARRL section, each ITU zone and each DXCC entity as well as to the
high-scoring IARU member society HQ station. IARU HF World Championship
Contest rules are available on ARRLWeb
<> and in April
2002 QST, p 96.

ARRL will handle all QSL requests for W1AW/5 and NU1AW/4. QSL via ARRL or
IARU, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.


High winds in late June forced postponement of an attempt by a group of
Amateur Radio operators and amateur rocket enthusiasts to make aerospace
history by putting the first amateur rocket into space. The Civilian Space
Xploration Team (CSXT) had hoped its suborbital vehicle would carry
several Amateur Radio payloads to an altitude of more than 60 nautical

"We came soooo close to a launch," said Eric Knight, KB1EHE, of
Unionville, Connecticut--one of the hams involved. "The rocket was ready
to go. All we had to do is push the ignition button." Knight says Amateur
Radio is central to the whole flight. Its Automatic Position Reporting
System (APRS), amateur TV and packet telemetry gear will enable the team
to document success, defined as 50 nautical miles above Earth.

"Our team was ready. The rocket was ready. But Mother Nature had other
plans," Knight explained. He said wind gusts of up to 60 miles per hour
caused a brutal sandstorm at the Western US desert launch site. The high
winds continued throughout the team's three-day launch window, he said.

"We're currently evaluating our options for a future launch date," Knight
said. "We're dusty--but undaunted--and still very optimistic of a launch
in the not-too-distant future."

Knight said all of the equipment and sections of the rocket remain on the
West Coast as the team works with the FAA to secure a new launch window.

Overseeing the CSXT effort has been Project Director Ky Michaelson of
Minnesota, a semi-retired stuntman and veteran hobby rocket enthusiast who
holds dozens of rocket speed records. Knight credits Michaelson with
conceptualizing what he called "our grand project." Michaelson was a guest
July 12 of radio talker Art Bell, W6OBB, on Bell's nationally syndicated
AM Coast to Coast program.

Other amateurs involved include Rod Lane, N1FNE--whose Southington,
Connecticut, garage and basement workshop have been largely given over to
rocket construction and integration--and Don Skinner, N1HWR, of
Tariffville, Connecticut. Assisting in the project for the past three
years has been high school senior Julia Cohn, KB1IGU, of West Hartford,
Connecticut. Cohn has been involved in constructing and programming some
of the sequencing electronics that will go aboard the vehicle. Her
electronics instructor and mentor at Hall High School is Chet Bacon,
KA1ILH, of Plantsville, Connecticut, and other students in Bacon's
electronics classes also have contributed to the project.

Funding for the project has come from team members' pockets. Knight
estimates the costs to date are approaching $100,000.

More information on the rocket project is on Knight's "Spaceshot
2001/Spaceshot 2002" Web site <>.


Radio Society of Great Britain President Bob Whelan, G3PJT, says the new
Foundation class entry-level amateur ticket in the UK has proven to be a
grand success, especially among youth. Since the Foundation license went
into effect January 1, it's attracted some 700 brand-new amateurs in the
UK, 250 of them under the age of 21, Whelan said. The balance of the 2500
Foundation licensees are those who upgraded their VHF-only privileges to
gain the limited HF access the Foundation ticket offers.

"The interesting thing is that we're getting a very good response from
schools, from Scouts, from Guides, from all those young people's
organizations," Whelan told ARRL, "and it looks to us like, for the first
time, it's going to change around the fortunes of Amateur Radio in the

The Foundation license has made the HF bands much more accessible to
newcomers as well as to Class B VHF-only "no code" licensees. To comply
with the current international Radio Regulations, applicants demonstrate
Morse proficiency by completing what's called a "Morse assessment." Class
B licensees need only complete the Morse assessment to qualify for the
Foundation license. Applicants work with a Morse tutor for the assessment,
and there is no Morse speed requirement. The RSGB says the entire Morse
assessment takes about 30 minutes. Applicants also must pass a 20-question
written examination that covers a wide range of radio and electronics

Holders of the Foundation ticket gain access to most amateur bands from
136 kHz through 440 MHz--with the notable exception of 10 meters--using
CW, SSB, or digital modes. Foundation licensees may operate with 10 W
output using only commercially manufactured equipment or "properly
designed" commercial kits. Licensees are issued call signs from the
M3AAA-M3ZZZ series.

The Foundation ticket also has proven to be a big boost to the RSGB--the
national Amateur Radio organization in the UK. "The membership of the RSGB
is starting to creep up again," Whelan said. "All indications are that it
was a very radical step we've taken, but it was evidently the right thing
to do." There are approximately 60,000 amateurs in the UK.

Some Morse code purists have been less than enthusiastic regarding the
administration of the CW portion of the examination. But Whelan said he
was pleasantly surprised to learn that, in the wake of the introduction of
a license that tends to de-emphasize Morse code, "there's been a
tremendous upsurge in interest as people want to know more about the
code." He said Amateur Radio retailers in the UK report their sales are up
following the introduction of the Foundation ticket, and one supplier
Whelan spoke with was completely out of Morse keys and practice sets.

Gibraltar recently announced that it was instituting a Foundation license
based on the UK example. Gibraltar Foundation licensees will be issued ZB3
call sign prefixes.

More information on the new UK license is available on the RSGB Web site


Solar seer Tad "Red Rubber Ball" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Conditions are still a bit in the doldrums, with solar flux and
sunspot numbers fairly flat. Average daily sunspot numbers this week were
up more than 24 points, and average daily solar flux was down nearly 12
points compared to the previous week.

The current outlook is for a slowly rising solar flux of 135 for July
12-13, 140 for July 14-15, and 145 for July 16-17. The prediction for the
planetary A index for Friday through Monday is 8, 15, 10 and 8.

This week Earth reached its aphelion, the farthest distance from the sun
in its annual orbit. Earth's orbit has an eccentricity of 1.7 percent, and
this week we are nearly 95 million miles from our closest star. When we
are at the closest point, or perihelion, we are almost 92 million miles
from the sun.

Sunspot numbers for June 27 through July 3 were 106, 94, 105, 111, 100, 85
and 147, with a mean of 106.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 138.6, 137.3, 142.7,
146.5, 147.4, 148.5, and 172.5, with a mean of 147.6. Estimated planetary
A indices were 7, 7, 9, 16, 15, 9, and 7, with a mean of 10.

Sunspot numbers for July 4 through 10 were 175, 149, 123, 121, 125, 129
and 118, with a mean of 134.3. The 10.7-cm flux was 146.3, 138.8, 133.5,
136.9, 130.9, 136.3, and 128.8, with a mean of 135.9. Estimated planetary
A indices were 7, 13, 23, 11, 10, 16, and 11, with a mean of 13.



* This weekend on the radio: The IARU HF World Championship/WRTC 2002, the
FISTS Summer Sprint and the QRP ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint are the
weekend of July 13-14. JUST AHEAD: The Colombian Independence Day Contest,
the Pacific 160 Meter Contest, the AGCW QRP Summer Contest, the W/VE
Islands Contest, the North American QSO Party (RTTY), the CQ Worldwide VHF
Contest, the Georgia QSO Party and the CQC Great Colorado Gold Rush are
the weekend of July 20-21. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* Correction/clarification: The story "It's Aliiiiive! AMSAT-OSCAR 7
Satellite Returns from the Dead" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 21, No 26 (Jun
28, 2002), contained a typographical error. It should have read, "Sections
97.207(c)(2) and 97.209(b)(2) of the FCC's rules authorize space station
and earth station operation only in the 435-438 MHz segment." The story
"FCC Initiates Inquiry into Tennessee ARRL-VEC Exam Session" in the same
edition of The ARRL Letter contained incorrect information. Volunteer
Examiner Bobby A. Raymer, N2BR, resigned as a VE after the December 14,
1999, test session under investigation; his accreditation was not
suspended as a result of the inquiry.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: The
registration fee for all on-line courses has increased by $5, effective
July 1. Registration for the Level II ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications (EC-002) and Antenna Modeling (EC-004) courses remains open
through the July 13-14 weekend. Registration for the Level III Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications (EC-003) and HF Digital Communications
(EC-005) courses opens Monday, July 15. Registration for the Satellite
Communications course (EC-007) opens Monday, July 22. 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,

* Additional ARRL Field Day 2002 pins to be available: For those who
missed out on getting an ARRL Field Day 2002 pin, a limited supply will be
available starting July 29. Field Day pins are $5. Visit the ARRL Web site
for details on how to order your pin or Field Day 2002 T-shirt

* South Carolina amateur celebrates July 4 with ISS QSO: Al Lark, KD4SFF,
in South Carolina, has added another holiday space QSO to his list. Lark,
who lives in Greenville, reports that on July 4, he worked Russian
cosmonaut Valery Korzun, RZ3FK, operating RS0ISS aboard the International
Space Station. "Valery was again active on voice over the USA, wishing all
a happy Independence Day!" Lark said. "I was one of the very lucky
stations to speak to him!" Lark says he also heard Korzun work several
other stations during the 18-degree pass over Greenville. A veteran of the
Space Amateur Radio EXperiment (SAREX) and Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station (ARISS) programs, Lark says he contacted Mir
on Christmas Day in 1993, followed by a QSO with astronaut Norm Thagard on
Easter 1995 and a Memorial Day 2001 contact with Susan Helms, KC7NHZ,
aboard the ISS. "Maybe one of these days I can achieve 'Worked all
Holidays,'" he said.

* Amateur 220-222 MHz band under attack in Canada: Radio Amateurs of
Canada says the Land Mobile Radio community has asked the Radio Advisory
Board of Canada (RABC) to look into the possibility of making all or part
of the 220-222 MHz portion of the 220-225 MHz amateur band available for
Land Mobile use in Canada. The RABC will make its recommendations to
Industry Canada later this year. The band 220-222 MHz already is a Land
Mobile band in the US and is not available to amateurs in most parts of
the world. The remainder of the band--the 222-225 MHz portion--is not up
for discussion. RAC recently conducted a survey
<> on its Web site to gather information on
band usage.

* Emergency Communication course offered at New England Division
Convention: A brief review version of the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications course (EC-001) will be offered in classroom
format at the ARRL New England Division Convention, August 23-24, at the
Boxboro, Massachusetts, Holiday Inn (exit 28 off I-495). Course editor
Dave Colter, WA1ZCN, is the instructor. Since this is a one-day
review-style class, students must read the course book and complete the
activities beforehand. The classroom sessions are on Friday, August 23,
from 8 AM to 4 PM (lunch is on your own). The examination will be
conducted Saturday, August 24, at 9 AM. Registration is $45 for ARRL
members, $75 for non-members, and free for Connecticut ARRL members taking
advantage of United Technologies grant funds. The fee includes
registration, course book, shipping, handouts, and the exam fee. To
register, contact Jerry Ellis, WS1K,

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,
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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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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