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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 08
February 21, 2003


* +Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003 introduced
* +Leadership changes announced in Pacific Division
* +ARISS QSO first since Columbia tragedy
* +Hams tackle snowstorm, flooding
* +New SMs elected in four sections
* +FCC proposes huge fine for Iowa ham
* +New York takes third stab at ham radio antenna bill
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Indiana amateur antenna bill passes Senate
     ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar
     ARRL seeks assistant technical editor

+Available on ARRL Audio News


The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act has again been introduced in the
US House of Representatives. The measure is an ARRL legislative
initiative. Florida Rep Michael Bilirakis put the latest version of the
bill, HR 713, into the legislative hopper on February 12. It has been
referred to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. When last
introduced in 2001, the measure was known as HR 817.

The House bill already has two cosponsors, Reps John Boozman, Arkansas,
and Patrick Tiberi, Ohio. Both cosponsored last year's bill.

HR 713 is aimed at ensuring the availability of spectrum to Amateur Radio
operators. It would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against
reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides
"equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere. Bilirakis, a Florida
Republican, has twice before sponsored similar legislation at the League's
recommendation. A Senate version of the bill is pending.

The measure would amend the Communications Act to require the FCC to
provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" to Amateur Radio and the
Amateur-Satellite Service in the event of a reallocation of primary
amateur allocations, any reduction in secondary amateur allocations, or
"additional allocations within such bands that would substantially reduce
the utility thereof" to amateurs.

The 2001 version of the measure attracted 53 cosponsors in the House but
last spring became one of many pieces of legislation caught up in the
so-called "Enron logjam," during which the Internet and Telecommunications
Subcommittee did not meet, although its full committee, Energy and
Commerce, held numerous hearings concerning Enron.

The ARRL is urging members of the Amateur Radio community to contact their
representatives in Congress and request that they cosponsor HR 713.
Experience has shown that, while most members of Congress understand and
appreciate the benefits of Amateur Radio, some may be reluctant to sign
onto a technical piece of legislation without some indication of support
from their own constituents. A sample letter is available on the ARRL Web

The text of HR 713 is available via the Thomas Web site
<>. Enter "HR713" in the "Bill Number" window. ARRL
asks that members soliciting their members of Congress to cosponsor this
legislation to copy their correspondence to the League via e-mail to


ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, has appointed East Bay Section Manager
Andy Oppel, N6AJO, to become Pacific Division Vice Director. The
appointment February 20 fills the vacancy in the Pacific Division
leadership created when former Vice Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, acceded to
Pacific Division Director upon the death of Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF, on
February 6. Oppel's appointment is for the balance of Vallio's term, which
expires January 1, 2005.

"I've been working with Bob Vallio for more than 20 years," said Oppel,
who lives in Alameda and took over the East Bay Section Manager's position
from Vallio in January 2000. Prior to that, he was an Assistant SM in East
Bay for eight years under Vallio's section leadership. Oppel said their
long-term working relationship would definitely be an asset as he and
Vallio take on their new leadership roles in the Pacific Division.

A ham since 1977 and a General-class licensee, Oppel, 50, said his
interest in emergency communications work is what helped to get him into
ham radio. He serves as a mentor for the Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Level I course.

ARRL Field and Educational Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has
appointed Dennis Franklin, K6DF, of Fremont to take over the reins from
Oppel as East Bay SM.

As the new Pacific Division Director, Vallio greeted Oppel's appointment
enthusiastically and said he planned to continue the agenda he and Jim
Maxwell had begun together three years ago. "Jim wasn't done with the
things that he wanted to do, and I wasn't done trying to help him do
them," Vallio said. Before becoming a Vice Director, he had served for
more than two decades as East Bay Section Communications Manager and
Section Manager. As a Vice Director, he served on the ARRL Board of
Directors' Membership Services Committee.

First licensed as a Novice in 1952, Vallio says he's been active on HF,
VHF and UHF for almost his entire 51-year tenure as an amateur licensee.
He also serves as a director and secretary of the Yasme Foundation and is
a member of the Northern California DX and Northern California Contest
clubs as well as of the Alameda County Sheriff's Communications Team
(Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service--RACES). He is retired from Pacific

Franklin, a retired federal employee, was first licensed in 1965. An ARRL
Life Member, he's is an Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course
mentor and a volunteer examiner.

An ARRL Life Member, Franklin is an Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
course mentor and a volunteer examiner.


Pupils at an elementary school in Japan have been the first youngsters to
speak to the astronauts aboard the International Space Station since the
shuttle Columbia tragedy. The contact took place February 18 between
8N3HES at the Hirano Elementary School and astronaut Don Pettit, KD5MDT,
at the controls of NA1SS. The direct 2-meter contact was arranged by the
Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) program, which
has been on hold since the shuttle catastrophe.

No one asked any questions about the Columbia tragedy during the
approximately 10-minute contact that was marred by some communication
difficulty. An audience of approximately 180 people--essentially the
entire school plus several reporters--was on hand for the ARISS contact.
Pettit managed to answer eight of the nine questions put to him by the
fifth and sixth graders

One student wanted to know what Pettit would bring with him if he had to
live in space for the rest of his life. "I would hope to bring my whole
family," Pettit responded. "I would bring my wife and my children and we
would live in space together."

Because of the Columbia disaster, the mission of the Expedition 6 crew
members already has been extended until at least June. It had been
scheduled to end next month.

Other students asked questions relating to everyday life aboard the space
station, including how the crew gets rid of its trash. Pettit explained
that after putting the trash into airtight bags, it's loaded on an empty
Progress cargo supply rocket and sent back into Earth's atmosphere. "It's
the ultimate means of recycling your garbage," he said.

Pettit told the youngsters that it's "nice and warm" aboard the space
station--about 22 degrees Centigrade--but that the crew could set the
temperature to whatever they desired.

One student asked what the crew would do if someone became ill.
"Fortunately no one has become sick on our mission, so we haven't had to
worry about that," Pettit replied. He said that in the case of sickness
among the crew, the crew would contact flight surgeons on Earth to get
advice. He also explained that the crew has a medical kit on board for
those kinds of situation.

ARISS is an international project with participation by ARRL, AMSAT and


Amateurs in the Eastern US this week responded after heavy snow in some
regions and icy conditions and flooding in others knocked out and
disrupted communications in several states.

In Kentucky, Section Emergency Coordinator Ron Dodson, KA4MAP, reported
that northern and central Kentucky was under ice and snow February 17 as a
result of precipitation over the weekend. Dodson said the City of
Lexington and Fayette County were hardest hit. At one point, some 65,000
customers were reported without power after ice-laden tree branches felled
utility lines. At week's end, Dodson reported that work was continuing on
power restoration in Lexington and Fayette County, where about 30,000
remained without power.

Lexington-Fayette County Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams
activated February 16 to provide communication support for road crews,
power crews and at four shelters set up at American Red Cross and
Salvation Army offices for those without heat due to the power outages.
Dodson said Amateur Radio was providing links on VHF and UHF between all
field operations and the local Emergency Operations Center in Lexington as
well as with the state EOC in Frankfort, Kentucky's capital.

"We have flooding occurring in southern and eastern portions of the state
where all the precipitation fell as rain," Dodson said earlier this week.
Many area highways were closed due to high water.

Paintsville-Johnson County Emergency Coordinator John Hager, N4KJU,
reported that ARES activated February 16 after meeting with local
emergency managers. Fifteen ARES members responded, and activation on VHF
provided communication for the fire department and rescue squad when
commercial power was interrupted for about five hours. Hams were deployed
at all 10 county fire departments and at the EOC.

Dodson said the ARES response gave the Lexington Fayette Urban County
Government "an up-close-and-personal look at Amateur Radio and how they
can benefit from it." Dodson praised amateurs who participated despite
having troubles of their own at home that included no power, frozen pipes
and trees covered with ice.

In the Washington, DC, area--which received more than two feet of
unwelcome and unusual snowfall--virtually all travel was reported
paralyzed. Prince George's County, Maryland, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency
Service (RACES) was activated to assist in picking up and delivering
dialysis patients to and from local facilities as well as providing other
needed transportation assistance. Murray Green, K3BEQ, reports that the
county EOC was activated, and Deputy Radio  Officer, Frank Scott, K3HDM,
took the reins as net control station. Primary communication was via VHF

In Northern New Jersey, ARES and SKYWARN activated 15 SKYWARN nets that
garnered 173 checkins during the storm, said Section Emergency Coordinator
Steve Ostrove, K2SO. In all, reports were logged from nine New Jersey
counties as well as two in New York and one in Pennsylvania. Hams put in
nearly 70 work-hours.

In Ohio, Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, reports that hams responded
to weather emergencies throughout the day February 16. Phillips said the
Ohio Single Side Band Net (OSSBN) was called into an emergency session by
Assistant Section Manager Connie Hamilton, N8IO, and Ohio Section
Emergency Coordinator Larry Rain, WD8IHP.

"Icy streets and falling snow clogged roads and ice covered trees striking
power lines caused power outages throughout Ohio," Phillips said. "The
OSSBN moved emergency traffic and kept Ohio hams in constant contact with
the Ohio Emergency Management Agency." He said in the Dayton area, Amateur
Radio operators with four-wheel drive vehicles stood by to transport
essential personal such as medical personnel to their jobs.

In New England, which is much more used to heavy snowfalls, the newly
formed Worcester Emergency Communications Team (WECT) in central
Massachusetts activated a net at the request of Worcester emergency
management officials. The net ran most of Presidents' Day--when the
majority of the snow fell in the region. "The activation gave us a chance
to test our capabilities and explore both our strengths and weaknesses in
terms of emergency communications," said Worcester ARES EC and City RACES
Officer Mark Rubin, WB1ARZ.

Rubin said the team set up a VHF station at the Worcester EOC. At one
point, he and another WECT member were atop the EOC roof in blizzard
conditions setting up a 5/8-wave antenna. More than two feet of snow fell
in some parts of Southern New England.


Roy Rabey, AD5KZ, will become the new North Texas Section Manager this
spring after he topped a field of three candidates that included the
incumbent. Rabey, who lives in Bedford, outpolled first-term North Texas
SM Larry Melby, KA5TXL, and Glenn Warnstaff, K5CPD. Rabey received 576
votes to Melby's 499 and Warnstaff's 303. New SMs also will be taking
office in Montana, Wyoming and Oklahoma. Incumbents were re-elected
without opposition in five other ARRL sections. Votes cast in all
contested races were counted February 18 at ARRL Headquarters.

In Montana, Doug R. Dunn, K7YD, defeated James Fuller, N7VMR, 234 to 73
votes. Dunn will take over the reins from current Montana SM Darrell
Thomas, N7KOR, a 10-year veteran who decided not to run for another term.

In Oklahoma, John Thomason, WB5SYT, of Edmond, topped Melvin Miller,
K5KXL, 520 to 148 votes for the section's top job. Thomason will take over
the job being relinquished by Charlie Calhoun, K5TTT, who decided not run
again. Calhoun has been Oklahoma SM since 1999.

In Wyoming, Jay E Ostrem, W7CW, of Gillette, was unopposed for election
and was declared elected. Ostrem will succeed outgoing Wyoming SM Bob
Williams, N7LKH, who did not run for another term. Williams has served as
SM since 1997.

Incumbent ARRL SMs in five other sections were unopposed for re-election
to new two-year terms and were declared elected. They are John Meyers,
NB4K, Kentucky; Cliff Hauser, KD6XH, Arizona; Malcolm Keown, W5XX,
Mississippi; Joe Brown, W6UBQ, Orange; and Jim Lasley, N0JL, Iowa.

All new terms of office begin on April 1.


The FCC has proposed fining a Nebraska Technician-class Amateur Radio
operator, Scott E. Kamm, N0UGN, of Waterbury, $12,000 for alleged willful
and repeated interference, broadcasting of music and failing to identify
with his call sign. The FCC's Kansas City office released the Notice of
Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) on January 24.

Responding to complaints of continuing interference on the input of a
2-meter repeater, FCC agents monitored the frequency last December 9. They
observed "very strong signals on the frequency 146.31 MHz consisting of
music, sound effects and unmodulated carriers" and no station ID. The FCC
said the transmissions were "interfering with existing communications in
progress" between other amateur stations.

The FCC said it used direction-finding techniques to determine that the
source of the signals was Kamm's residence in Waterbury. The next day, an
FCC agent monitored the same sorts of transmissions, tracked the source to
Kamm's residence, and inspected Kamm's amateur station.

"The agent found an amateur radio transceiver capable of operating on
146.31 MHz," the FCC said. Kamm claimed no transmissions were made from
his station and that he used the unit to receive only.

Based on its evidence, however, the FCC Kansas City office determined that
Kamm "willfully and repeatedly" violated FCC Part 97 rules "by causing
intentional interference, broadcasting music and failing to identify with
his station call sign." The FCC determined that the appropriate fine was
$12,000 and ordered Kamm to pay the fine within 30 days unless Kamm seeks
a reduction or appeals the proposed forfeiture.

Kamm already has come to the attention of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau. He
was the target of several letters and an FCC Warning Notice from Special
Counsel Riley Hollingsworth during 2002. Last fall, the FCC's Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau set aside Kamm's amateur license based upon
complaints about the operation of his station and questions regarding his
qualifications to be a licensee. Kamm's license expired last September,
and his renewal application has reverted to a pending status while the
matter was referred to the Enforcement Bureau.


For the third year in a row, Amateur Radio antenna legislation has again
been introduced in the New York Legislature. ARRL Hudson Division Director
Frank Fallon, N2FF, says the text for the bills--one in the General
Assembly and the other in the Senate--is identical to previous measures.
Last year's bill passed in the State Senate but died in the Assembly's
Rules Committee.

"We are off and running again with our tower bills," Fallon said this
week. The bills, A2662 and S63, were introduced in late January with most
of the same sponsors. Fallon said he expects the fact that the Senate
passed an identical bill last year will be "a big advantage" to the 2003
efforts. Both bill have been referred to the respective Local Government

S63 is sponsored by Sen Dale Volker while A2662 is sponsored by
Assemblymen Ron Tocci and Paul Tonko. In memoranda of support attached to
their bills, Volker and Tocci said that Amateur Radio operators, "provide
an emergency communications network that is disaster-tested and robust"
free of charge to the citizens of New York. "A key element of a radio
amateur's capability to communicate is a small radio tower that is high
enough to ensure effective communication," they added.

If the legislation is approved by the legislature and signed by Gov George
Pataki, a former Amateur Radio operator, it would prevent passage of any
political subdivision zoning ordinance by-law, rule, regulation, order or
other local law or ordinance that would "prohibit or effectively prohibit
the construction or use of an antenna support structure by a federally
licensed Amateur Radio operator."

The legislation also would require municipalities to adhere to the
provisions of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1, and their
wording mirrors that preemption. Municipal ordinances impacting the
placement, screening or height of antenna support structures "must
reasonably accommodate effective operation of amateur radio antennas and
shall impose the minimum regulation necessary to accomplish the political
subdivision's legitimate purpose," the bills' texts read.

But the New York bills go beyond simply incorporating PRB-1 into state
law. They would prohibit municipalities from passing laws or ordinances to
"restrict antenna support structure height to less than 95 feet above
ground level or restrict the number of antenna support structures."

More information on the New York antenna bills is available on the New
York State Legislature Web site


Solar soulman Tad "You Give me Fever" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports:Sunspot numbers were lower this week, into the double-digits below
100. The average daily number was about 54 percent lower than the previous
week, and daily average solar flux was off by nearly 20 points, or about
14 percent.

Earth has been affected by a high-speed solar wind since February 15, and
this hurt conditions during the ARRL International DX Contest last
weekend, at least in the higher latitudes. Both mid-latitude and planetary
K indices were as high as 4 on Saturday and Sunday, and Alaska's
high-latitude College K index was up to 6 on both days. This was
especially detrimental to signals traveling over polar paths. But in a few
days conditions improved, and on Wednesday evening during a visit to K7SS
I had good signal reports into Kuwait running 100 W beaming over the pole
using his new three-element continuously tunable Yagi.

Geomagnetic conditions are expected to be unsettled on Friday, with a
planetary A index around 20. Solar flux should rise, with predicted values
of 120 for Friday and Saturday and 125 for Sunday and Monday. Current
projections show solar flux peaking around 150 from March 6-8.

Sunspot numbers for February 13 through 19 were 113, 113, 96, 41, 16, 51
and 57, with a mean of 69.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 130.6, 131.4, 123.6,
118.5, 112.1, 109.9, and 116.3, with a mean of 120.3. Estimated planetary
A indices were 8, 19, 18, 15, 11, 17, and 12, with a mean of 14.3.



* This weekend on the radio: The CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF
Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest (CW), the FYBO Winter QRP Field Day, the
North American QSO Party (RTTY), the Russian PSK WW Contest, the High
Speed Club CW Contest, the North Carolina QSO Party and the CQC Winter QSO
Party are the weekend of February 22-23. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL
International DX Contest (SSB), the Open Ukraine RTTY Championship and the
DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of March 1-2. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the Radio Frequency Interference (EC-006) and Satellite
Communications (EC-007) courses opens Monday, February 24, 12:01 AM
Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC). Registration will remain open through
Sunday, March 2. Classes begin Monday, March 3. No seats remain during
this registration period for the ARRL Level III Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications course (EC-003). Registration for the HF Digital
Communications course (EC-005) remains open through Sunday, February 23. A
new service now allows those interested in taking an ARRL Certification
and Continuing Education (C-CE) course to be advised via e-mail in advance
of registration opportunities. Send an e-mail to On the
subject line of your message, include the name or number (eg, EC-00#) of
the course you'd like to take. In the message body, include your name,
call sign, e-mail address and the month you want to start the course. 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 Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* Correction: The story "Utah Amateur Radio Antenna Bill on its Way to
Governor's Desk," in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 07, contained some
incorrect information on the Senate vote. The bill unanimously passed a
third reading in the Utah Senate February 14 on a 23-0 vote. More
information on this legislation is available on the Utah Amateur Radio
Club's "News About UARC and Ham Radio in Utah" Web site
<>.--some information
from Gordon Smith, K7HFV.

* Indiana amateur antenna bill passes Senate: Indiana's Amateur Radio
antenna legislation, Senate Bill 109, passed the Indiana Senate with a
vote of 41-8. SB 109, The Regulation of Amateur Radio Antennas, would
incorporates the essence of PRB-1 into the state's laws and prohibit any
county or municipality from restricting the height of amateur radio
antennas to less than 75 feet above ground. "This legislation would not
likely have passed without the efforts of many Indiana amateurs who
contacted their state senators and urged passage of SB 109," said ARRL
Indiana Section Manager Jim Sellers, K9ZBM. "My thanks to every Indiana
amateur who took the time to contact their state senators and urged
passage of this Legislation." Sellers also thanked State Government
Liaison David Spoelstra, N9KT, as well as the bill's author and sponsor
State Sen Rose Ann Antich. The bill next goes to the Indiana House of
Representatives. ARRL Central Division Director Dick Isely, W9GIG,
congratulated Sellers and "all the Indiana amateurs that have been working
long and hard to get the provisions of PRB-1 embedded into Indiana law."

* ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar: The ARRL will
offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course (ARECC) seminar
March 8, in conjunction with the 2003 Roanoke Division Convention in
Charlotte, North Carolina. The seminar will not include the Level I course
itself. This program is designed to explain in greater detail the duties
of volunteer certification mentors, instructors and examiners of the
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses and provide additional
information for those considering these volunteer positions. "With Level I
emergency communications training being offered nationwide under the
homeland security grant from the Corporation for National and Community
Service, we hope to have all ARECC team players reading from the same page
to ensure success under the federal grant guidelines," said ARRL Emergency
Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG. The seminar will be held
Saturday, March 8, at the Charlotte Merchandise Mart, Independence and
Freedom Halls, 2500 E Independence Blvd. Seating may be limited. Contact
Dan Miller, K3UFG,; 860-594-0340; fax 860-594-0259, at ARRL
HQ if you plan to attend. For registered CMs, CIs and CEs who attend,
mileage may be reimbursable up to a total of $35. Seminar attendance does
not include admission to the convention, which is March 8 and 9. For more
information on the 2003 Roanoke Division Convention, visit the sponsoring
Mecklenburg Amateur Radio society Web site. <>.

* ARRL seeks assistant technical editor: ARRL has an opening for a
full-time Assistant Technical Editor at ARRL Headquarters in Newington,
Connecticut. The job has a wide range of responsibilities involving
several ARRL publications. Primary responsibilities are as QST product
review editor, National Contest Journal handling editor and editor of The
ARRL Repeater Directory. Among other qualifications, the successful
candidate will have a broad knowledge of and experience with Amateur Radio
and electronics, especially the design and construction of Amateur Radio
equipment, antennas and accessories; a college degree, preferably in a
related field; a minimum of one year of writing or editing experience; an
Amateur Radio license. The starting date for this position is on or around
August 1, 2003. More information is available on the ARRL Web site
<>. Send resume and cover letter to
Robert Boucher, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111, or via e-mail or fax (860-594-0298). No telephone calls, please. ARRL
is an Equal Opportunity Employer.

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
<>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of
interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely,
accurate, concise, and readable. Visit ARRLWeb <> for
the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site
<> offers access to news, informative features and
columns. ARRL Audio News <> is a
weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled from The ARRL Letter.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to
The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
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==>How to Get The ARRL Letter
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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.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

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