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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 10
March 7, 2003


* +Spectrum Protection Act filed in US Senate
* +Support grows for favorable 40-meter plans
* +Astronaut says he'll miss ability to fly
* +Hamvention hopes to continue calling Hara home
* +Hams respond to gas shutdown
* +Updated General class syllabus released for comments
* +UK to AK on LF!
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     Emergency Communications Level I course registration information
     Arkansas gets new Section Manager
     FCC makes housekeeping changes in Amateur Service rules
     FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint
     Former ARRL staffer Marjorie Tenney, WB1FSN, SK
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque award
     Dayton Contest Dinner tickets now on sale

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003 now has been introduced
in both chambers of Congress. Idaho Sen Michael Crapo introduced the
Senate version of the bill, S 537, on March 6. Original cosponsors were
Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID).Florida Rep Michael
Bilirakis put the latest House version of the bill, HR 713, into the
legislative hopper on February 12. The measures, an ARRL initiative, have
been introduced twice before in Congress. ARRL President Jim Haynie,
W5JBP, believes this third time could be the proverbial charm.

"Actually, this is the best opportunity that we've ever had to get this
bill through, because more members of Congress than ever before are paying
attention to ham radio now," said Haynie, who's been in Washington this
week to talk Amateur Radio with lawmakers and regulators. In addition,
Haynie pointed out, the House and Senate will be considering major
spectrum reform bills, and the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act could
serve as an amendment to that sort of legislation.

HR 713 and S 537 are aimed at ensuring the availability of spectrum to
Amateur Radio operators. The legislation would protect existing Amateur
Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services
unless the FCC provides "equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere.

Haynie encouraged members of the Amateur Radio community to contact their
senators and representatives to urge their cosponsorship, which lends
support to legislation while it's in committee. The House bill has been
referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce; the Senate bill will be
considered by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. In
addition, although more members of Congress than ever understand and
appreciate the benefits of Amateur Radio, some may remain reluctant to
sign onto a technical piece of legislation without some indication of
support from their own constituents.

"The League is doing all it can, but we know the success or failure will
be in the hands of the amateur community," said Haynie, who pledged the
ARRL's continuing efforts to get the bill enacted. "Letters and e-mails
are the key to getting legislation passed."

A sample letter is available on the ARRL Web site
<>. Those writing their
lawmakers are asked to copy their correspondence to the League via e-mail

The measures 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
their utility to amateurs.

The text of HR 713 and S 537 is available (or will soon be available) via
the Thomas Web site <>.


With World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) getting under way
in about three months in Geneva, support is growing for two favorable
proposals to create a 300-kHz worldwide 40-meter allocation. ARRL and the
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) seek a return to the 300-kHz
allocation that existed worldwide prior to World War II but that now
exists only in the Americas. Delegates to WRC-03 will attempt to
address--and possibly eliminate--the overlap on 40 meters between amateurs
in the Americas (Region 2) and broadcasters elsewhere (Regions 1 and 3).

"There is encouraging news," says ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his "It
Seems to Us . . ." editorial set to appear in April QST. He reports that,
thanks to the efforts of IARU volunteers and others, more than 30
countries now have gone on record to support either one or the other of
two favorable 40-meter realignment formulas. Sumner said more support is
needed, but he called the interim head count "a good start."

Most popular among the half dozen realignment schemes outlined by
participants at last November's WRC-03 Conference Preparatory Meeting is
so-called Method B. This approach calls for a three-stage transition that
would begin by allowing Region 1 and 3 amateurs on 7100-7200 kHz on a
secondary basis starting in 2005 and end with all ITU regions gaining
access to 7000-7300 kHz by the end of 2009--with the top 100 kHz shared
with fixed and mobile stations in Regions 1 and 3. Broadcasters would
shift upward to 7300-7550 kHz worldwide.

For US and other Region 2 stations, such a change would mean an end to
deafening nighttime phone band QRM from broadcasters and the necessity to
operate split-frequency to work stations in Regions 1 and 3 on SSB.

Sumner says Method B is now a European Common Proposal with initial
support from 17 CEPT administrations. At least three other countries in
Africa, Asia, and the Pacific have also expressed support for Method B, he
said. The IARU team now is working to gain the support of additional
administrations in Regions 1 and 3 either for Method B or for the similar
Method A, Sumner reports. Otherwise identical to Method B, Method A does
not include any sharing with fixed and mobile services.

In the Americas, a dozen ITU Region 2 countries last month agreed to
support an Inter-American Proposal that's virtually the same as the
so-called Method D. Proposed by Canada, Method D would provide 300 kHz
worldwide for amateurs by shifting broadcasters in Regions 1 and 3 upward
by 200 kHz. Region 2's broadcasting allocation would remain unchanged.
IARU Region 2 is now working to expand the list of Region 2 countries
supporting that plan.

The US so far has taken no position on the 40-meter realignment issue,
although it has long supported a 300-kHz worldwide, exclusive allocation
for Amateur Radio. The FCC WRC-03 Advisory Committee has recommended that
Method A be a US proposal, but the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) has not yet agreed.

"Acting on behalf of the federal government users of the radio spectrum,
the NTIA has been advocating 'no proposal' from the US, a position that
the ARRL is working hard to overcome," Sumner points out. "A small number
of federal agencies claim to be concerned that their backup circuits on HF
would be affected by an upward shift of broadcasters."

Sumner also calls it "unfortunate" that some broadcasters persist in
efforts to link the 7 MHz WRC-03 agenda item with another that deals with
the adequacy of broadcasting spectrum between 4 and 10 MHz. Sumner said
the broadcasting spectrum item is "a separate issue with an entirely
different genesis.


Despite a last-minute glitch with an antenna rotator, an Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station (ARISS) contact involving students at the
Hochwald Gymnasium (high school) in Wadern, Germany, went off right on
schedule. During the February 27 QSO, 16 students--all brand-new new
amateur licensees--spoke via DL0WR in Saarland with ISS Science Officer
Don Pettit, KD5MDT, at the controls of NA1SS. The high school was only the
second school in Germany to experience an ARISS contact.

"Most significant is that the ARISS contact gave birth to 16 new members
of the Amateur Radio community," said ARISS Mentor Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ,
who called the accomplishment a "superb illustration of the educational
power of the ARISS school contacts." That their first ham radio activity
was a contact with the ISS was "a dream come true," he added.

The fact that each student had his or her own ticket also covered the
sometimes-overlooked legal issue of third-party traffic between the US
space station and the German students. Germany and US do not enjoy a
third-party traffic agreement. Michael Kraus, DF3VM, conducted the
students' training over a period of several weeks. Students ranged in age
from 15 to 19. On the classroom side, the students had been working with
physics teacher Marco Holzer since last November to prepare for the big

Pettit told the high schoolers that the thing he misses most in space is
his family. The thing he'll miss the most when he gets back to Earth,
however, is the possibility to fly while in microgravity. "When I get back
to Earth, I'll miss that the most," he said.

He explained that while the ISS occupants are able to float freely, there
is a "ceiling" and a "floor" to the spacecraft. The "floor," he said, has
a darker color than the other surfaces.

Pettit also described how the crew enjoys the spectacular view of Earth
below through the airliner-sized ports on the ISS, talked about what the
astronauts do in their spare time and explained the scientific research
the Expedition 6 crew is involved with. No, he said, there are no
alcoholic beverages onboard Space Station Alpha.

In the parking lot of the auditorium where the contact took place,
coordinating teacher Hubert Schšfer, DJ8VH, and some fellow members of the
Wadern Deutscher Amateur Radio Club (DARC)-affiliate, which loaned its
DL0WR call sign to the occasion, had set up a 12-meter-tall mast to
support the antenna system. Barely an hour before the contact was to take
place, the primary antenna rotator failed. A backup unit put into play
worked flawlessly.

Reporters from two television, two radio stations and two newspapers
covered the event. The Hochwald contact marked the 88th ARISS school

ARISS is an international program with participation by ARRL, NASA and
AMSAT. For more information, visit the ARISS Web site


Although 2003 marks the last year of a five-year contract to hold
Hamvention at Hara Arena, organizers hope to keep the show there for the
indefinite future. Rumors crop up each year--and this has been no
exception--that this year's event will be the last to take place at the
venerable venue near Dayton, Ohio, that's served as Hamvention's home
since 1964. Negotiations on a new contract to retain Hara for future shows
remain in the offing. Billed as "the world's largest Amateur Radio
gathering and trade show," Hamvention 2003 takes place May 16-18.

"We haven't made any decisions yet," Hamvention Production Manager Garry
Matthews, KB8GOL, said this week. "We want to get this year's show under
our belt and then renegotiate the contract." At the same time, Matthews
said, there are no plans to go elsewhere, nor is Hamvention under any
threat or pressure to relocate. "There's nothing planned to move," he
said. "But," he conceded, "we've looked at alternative locations in case
something happens. Anything could happen to Hara."

Matthews says the sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association has explored
several other possible locations for Hamvention, which has quietly dropped
"Dayton" from the show's official name. Matthews says no other site in the
Greater Dayton area will serve the purpose that Hara does. "None of the
other venues will support the show at its current size," he said.

Speaking of size, Hamvention reported that attendance for last year's 50th
anniversary event was 24,832--down about 5 percent from 2001's crowd of
26,151. 2002 marked the second year in a row that Hamvention's attendance
had dipped.

Attendance climbed to 28,804 in 2000, the year of the ARRL National
Convention at Dayton. Matthews has said that any crowd larger than 28,000
starts to push the envelope as far as Hara Arena is concerned--especially
the human comfort factor. Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at
33,669--before the event date changed from April to May.

As for continued use of Hara Arena, Matthews points out that the building
has never been sold, is not for sale now and never has been. As for a new
contract with Hara? "We'll evaluate the show after June 1, and we hope to
improve some things," he said, without revealing any details.

In the meantime, he's pouring his energy into the arrangements for this
year's show, but, he reports, things have been slower to come together in
terms of advance sales to visitors and vendors.  "If we go to war, people
might not want to travel," he said. "There's nothing to panic about, but
it's tougher this year."

Some changes already have been announced. Among other things, Hamvention
this year will replace its annual banquet and entertainment with a more
low-key award winners' reception at Hara Saturday evening.

Between now and show time, Matthews says Hamvention will--among other
moves--boost its advertising and promotion to counteract the sluggish
advance sales. "We're going to have a good show," he predicted

For additional insights and information on Hamvention, see "How Hamvention
Happens," in April 2000 QST and available on the ARRL Web site
<>. For more
information on Hamvention 2003, visit the Hamvention Web site


Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
(ARES/RACES) team members in southern York County, Pennsylvania, activated
March 3 after a natural gas shutdown forced residents to evacuate their
homes to escape winter's chill. Some two dozen amateurs took shifts to
assist the American Red Cross, staff the local emergency operations center
and provide other necessary communication. ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania
Section Manager Eric Olena, WB3FPL, reports that Amateur Radio involvement
in the gas emergency ended around midday on March 5.

York County ARRL Emergency Coordinator Kerry Smeltzer, KA3KAR, says the
problem, reportedly the result of a regulator failure, cut off the main
natural gas supply serving the communities of Red Lion and Dallastown.
Estimates vary as to the number of residents directly impacted by the gas
failure, but they ran anywhere from 5000 to 10,000. Red Cross "mass care"
facilities in two local schools let residents take advantage of heated
facilities and hot meals. Smeltzer and his family were among those taking

In addition to the ARES/RACES teams activated in York County, Smeltzer
said, ARES teams in surrounding counties and from nearby Maryland were on
standby for the duration in case needed. ARES/RACES used two local VHF
repeaters for most communications. Smeltzer said that the Baptist Men's
Kitchen was on site to provide meals. The Civil Air Patrol also responded.


The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference of Volunteer
Examiner Coordinators has released a draft syllabus for the Element 3
(General) Amateur Radio examination. This syllabus will be used to develop
a new General class question pool that will become effective July 1, 2004.
The QPC is inviting comments on the document as well as suggested
questions for the General-class question pool.

ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says comments and questions may
include, but are not limited to, such things as new material in terms of
technology or operations, topics that might be deleted as no longer
relevant and corrections involving grammar, spelling and technical

The General class syllabus is an outline of 10 question-topic
areas--called "subelements"--from which actual Element 3 examination
questions will be developed. These include FCC rules, operating
procedures, radio wave propagation, Amateur Radio practices, electrical
principles, circuit components, practical circuits, signals and emissions,
antennas and feed lines and RF safety.

A question pool based on the revised syllabus will be released later this
year. The QPC will invite public input on the General questions once
they've been made public. A new Technician class question pool released
last November takes effect in the exam room on July 1 of this year.

The draft General (Element 3) syllabus
<> is available on the
ARRL Web site, which also includes all current question pools

QPC Chairman Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, has requested comments to the
committee by July 15, 2003. The amateur community may e-mail comments to
the Question Pool Committee at

==>UK TO AK ON 136 kHz

Reaching Alaska from the United Kingdom using just 1 W ERP is quite a feat
for any band, but the Radio Society of Great Britain reports that Laurie
Mayhead, G3AQC, was heard in Alaska on 136 kHz. In the early hours of
February 15, he transmitted to Laurence Howell, GM4DMA/KL1X in Anchorage,
and just before UK dawn at 0615 his call sign was clearly identified using
software to read the signal.

G3AQC was using QRSS--very slow CW--with a 60-second-long dit. The 7278-km
distance is a transmission record for 1 W ERP on 136 kHz.

Two years ago, Mayhead and Larry Kayser, VA3LK, made ham radio history
when they completed the first two-way transatlantic exchange on 136 kHz,
also using very slow speed CW. Last year G3AQC became the first person to
span the Atlantic on 73 kHz.

Howell expressed surprise that the path involved in the latest
accomplishment is "notoriously poor" between southeastern Alaska, on the
east coast of the Pacific, and Europe. "The signal would theoretically go
on a Great Circle route to nearly 80 degrees north, over the northern
Canadian Arctic, northern Greenland, east of Iceland, Glasgow, then over
the UK to the South Coast--across and through the auroral oval."

He said there's speculation that the actual path might been around or even
under the auroral zone, since there was no auroral Doppler seen on the
received signal. Howell and Mayhead credited research and preparation
carried out by G3NYK, G3LDO, W3EEE and W4DEX, for helping to set the new
LF record.--RSGB


Heliophile Tad "I Live for the Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: This week we saw the average daily sunspot number increase nearly
50 points over the previous week, and the average daily solar flux was up
30 points. The geomagnetic indices were active after a robust solar wind
arrived on March 3. The most active period was late on March 3 into March
4 when the planetary K index reached 4 and Alaska's College K index
reached 6.

On Thursday evening of the reporting period we were affected by a
high-speed solar wind stream from a coronal hole causing minor geomagnetic
storms in high latitudes. This would result in absorption of HF signals
over polar paths. Geomagnetic indices are expected to be unsettled to
active over the next few days, and solar flux should decline again. Solar
flux is expected to go below 145 by March 10, then reach a short-term
minimum below 110 around March 22-23.

Sunspot numbers for February 27 through March 5 were 82, 77, 73, 67, 136,
160 and 138, with a mean of 104.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 117.6, 124.9,
138.1, 147.3, 149.1, 146 and 148.5, with a mean of 138.8. Estimated
planetary A indices were 22, 17, 14, 14, 15, 26 and 16, with a mean of



* This weekend on the radio: The South African Radio League (SARL) Field
Day Contest, the RSGB Commonwealth Contest (CW), the North American Sprint
(RTTY), the UBA Spring Contest (CW), the NSARA Contest and the Wisconsin
QSO Party are the weekend of March 9-10.  JUST AHEAD: The Pesky Texan
Armadillo Chase is March 13. The YLISSB QSO Party (SSB), the 10-10 Mobile
Contest, the BARTG Spring RTTY Contest, the SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the
Russian DX Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest and the Virginia QSO Party
are the weekend of March 15-16. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, March 10, 12:01 AM EST (0500 UTC), for the on-line Level II
Emergency Communications course (EC-002). Registration remains open
through the March 15-16 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, March 25. Thanks to a
recent grant, the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be
reimbursed after successful completion of the course. During this
registration period, approximately 50 seats are being offered to ARRL
members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Web page <>
and the C-CE Links found there. For more information, contact Emergency
Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG,;

* Emergency Communications Level I course registration information: March
registration is closed for the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Level I on-line course (EC-001) sponsored by the Corporation for National
and Community Service (CNCS). All available seats have been filled.
Registration for the next available Level I class opens Monday, April 7,
at 12:01 AM EST. Senior amateurs are strongly encouraged to take advantage
of this opportunity. Those considering enrolling in the Level I class are
urged to take the Connecticut Distance Learning Consortium WebMentor
sample course to familiarize themselves with the course template and tools
used in all ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) on-line
courses. Sign up for e-mail registration reminders for all C-CE courses by
sending a request to To learn more, visit the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Web page <>
and the C-CE Links found there. Address your Emergency Communications
course questions to ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan
Miller, K3UFG,

* Arkansas gets new Section Manager: ARRL Field and Educational Services
Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has appointed Robert D "Dennis" Schaefer,
W5RZ, to be the new Arkansas ARRL Section Manager. Schaefer, who lives in
Dover, served as a Section Communications Manager (SCM) from 1968 until
1970 and as an Assistant SM. He now serves as a Delta Division Assistant
Director and as a District Emergency Coordinator. He succeeds SM Bob
Ideker, WB5VUH, who first served as SM from 1991 through 1995 and who
returned to office in 2001. Ideker had decided to not run for another
term, and Eldon Bryant, K7ZQR, was nominated and elected to replace him.
Bryant subsequently decided not to assume the office, however. Schaefer's
term as SM term begins April 1. Arkansas members may contact Schaefer via
e-mail <>;.

* FCC makes housekeeping changes in Amateur Service rules: The FCC has
made some minor changes in the Part 97 Amateur Service rules as a result
of decisions at past World Radiocommunication Conferences. In a
wide-ranging Report and Order released March 3 that affects several radio
services, the FCC has removed ß97.401(b) and international footnote 5.120
from the Amateur Service rules. The sections reference International
Telecommunication Union (ITU) Resolution 640, which invited
administrations to provide for the needs of international disaster
communications and for the needs of emergency communications within their
national regulations using certain amateur bands. Resolution 640 was
deleted at WRC-97, and footnote 5.120 at WRC-2000. "We do not think this
will have an impact on the Amateur Service emergency communications
because Sections 97.111(a)(1) and 97.101(c) of our Rules allow amateur
stations to communicate with foreign stations in disaster areas, making
the provisions based on the former ITU Resolution No. 640 unnecessary,"
the FCC said in the RO&O in ET Docket 02-16. Those sections permit
"transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the
amateur service" unless an administration objects and require control
operators "at all times and on all frequencies" to give priority to
stations providing emergency communications. Footnote 5.120 had listed 80,
40, 30, 20, 17, 15, 12 and 2 meters as bands to be used in the event of
natural disaster.

* FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint: The FCC has told an Oregon couple
to stop using its Winegard amplified television antenna (Model
Sensar/Roadstar) on their recreational vehicle "until the condition
causing harmful interference has been corrected." The FCC contacted Jimmy
and Jan Bowen of Gresham, Oregon, following a February 3, RFI complaint
from an Amateur Radio operator to the FCC Portland office. The
interference was reported on 447.375 MHz. An FCC agent investigating the
allegation tracked the interfering signal to the Bowen's RV in Portland.
The FCC cited Part 15 rules and noted that certain Winegard antenna
amplifiers "have been the source of radio frequency interference in a
number of cases." Due to the complaints, Winegard
<> has agreed to replace defective units at no
charge. The FCC advised the couple to contact Winegard to make necessary

* Former ARRL staffer Marjorie Tenney, WB1FSN, SK: Former ARRL
Headquarters staff member Marjorie C. Tenney, WB1FSN, died February 22.
She was 78. Known for her friendliness and willingness to help others,
Tenney worked in various HQ capacities from 1965 through 1985. ARRL Chief
Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, remembered Tenney as consistently
cheerful person who was eager to be of help to members and coworkers.
Survivors include her husband, Herbert, WB1ETL, three sons--including
Richard, WB1ASG--and a daughter.

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for December 2002 was Dick Stroud, W9SR, for his article "Try Copper for 2
Meters--the CuLoop." The January 2003 winner was Paul Wade, W1GHZ, for his
article "A 222-MHz Transverter for the Yaesu FT-817." The February 2003
winner was David A. Rosenthal, N6TST, for his article "Portable in
Paradise: Cruise Ship Dxing." Congratulations, Dick, Paul and David! The
winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the author--or authors--of
the best article in each issue--is determined by a vote of ARRL members.
Voting takes place each month on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page
<>. Cast a ballot for your
favorite articles in the March issue of QST. Voting ends March 31.

* Dayton Contest Dinner tickets now on sale: The North Coast Contesters
have announced that tickets for the 11th annual Dayton Contest Dinner now
are on sale. The dinner will be held Saturday, May 17, 6:30 PM, at the
Crowne Plaza Hotel in downtown Dayton. Seating is limited, random and not
reserved. All dinner ticket orders are handled exclusively by Craig Clark,
K1QX, Radioware and Radio Bookstore, PO Box 209, Rindge, NH 03461
<>. Order tickets weekdays by calling toll-free
800-457-7373 or via e-mail <jcclark at>. Major credit cards are

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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the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site
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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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