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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 19
May 9, 2003


* +Ham radio volunteers help following tornado outbreaks
* +NTIA administrator praises, cautions FCC in BPL initiative
* +ISS Expedition 6 crew has bumpy return
* +Washington amateur is first Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship winner
* +FCC affirms big fine in amateur interference case
* +Governors in two states sign amateur antenna bills into law
* +Foundation license a hit, RSGB delegation says
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Turkish hams help following earthquake

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Amateurs in Missouri, Kansas, and Tennessee this week continued relief and
recovery support in the wake of a severe outbreak of deadly tornadoes May
4 that also affected other states. Oklahoma City-area amateurs responded
to assist after a tornado hit that region May 8. At week's end, the death
toll from the May 4 storms stood at 40; many more were injured, and
countless homes and other structures were damaged or destroyed. Thousands
of residents in the stricken areas were left without power or telephone
service. Those left homeless by the storms have been taking refuge in Red
Cross shelters or with friends or relatives. Amateur Radio operators have
been assisting in damage assessment as well as providing communication
support for the Red Cross and The Salvation Army's shelter and feeding

In Kansas, ARRL Section Manager Ron Cowan, KB0DTI, reports severe damage
in two counties, with houses destroyed and utilities out in the path of
the twister. The tornado remained on the ground for 90 minutes, plowing
through Leavenworth and Wyandotte counties in Kansas before crossing the
border into Platte and Clay counties in Missouri. The funnel cloud finally
lifted northeast of Kansas City.

"Wyandotte/Kansas City RACES was active with spotting and later damage
assessment," Cowan said. RACES went on standby on May 5. Johnson County
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) opened a VHF net, coordinated by EC
and Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Coordinator June
Jeffers, KB0WEQ, within 30 minutes of touchdown. SATERN members and other
ham radio volunteers assisted Salvation Army canteens that rolled in
immediately after the storm.

Cowan said Crawford County in southeastern Kansas also suffered major
damage. Most affected was the area north of Pittsburg and the communities
of Girard and Franklin, which were right in the storm's path.

In Missouri, ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Don Moore, KM0R, said
tornado damage was reported throughout the greater Kansas City area. Moore
has been posting updates on the Missouri Section ARES Web site
<>. He said multiple
nets--including ARES, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service and
SKYWARN--relayed storm information to emergency officials on May 4 and
later assisted with damage assessment. The National Weather Service
credited ham radio operators with dozens of storm-related reports over the

Hams in Pierce City--in the direct path of one tornado and especially hard
hit--were using a repeater in nearby Aurora to supplement public safety
communication. Hams in Southwest Missouri also handled health-and-welfare
inquiries via the Missouri Traffic Net (3963 kHz).

In West Tennessee, May 4 marked the second time in four years that the
Jackson-Madison County area was devastated by tornadoes. "Lives were lost
and people injured," said Madison County EC Kenny Johns, AB4EG.

Some 27,000 residents remain without power, Johns reported, adding that
the tornado made a direct hit on the emergency operations center. The
storm also did not spare the sheriff's department, the post office or the
federal building in Jackson.

"First day was shock, second day was just deciding what to do first, third
day recovery was well under way, fourth day there was more hope, help and
a great county spirit," Johns said.

Johns said an ARES net was in operation in West Tennessee. "Right now we
are able to handle it," he said at week's end. "Hams from surrounding
counties are helping. Their efforts have been appreciated." Even as the
massive cleanup effort began, forecasters were calling for additional
severe weather in the days ahead. Flooding from continued heavy rains was
an additional complication.

In Oklahoma, ARRL Section Manager John Thomason, WB5SYT, reports that
amateurs responded "within minutes" of a tornado that struck the Oklahoma
City area May 8. They remained in place at week's end. More than 100
people reportedly were injured, and the tornado leveled or damaged
hundreds of structures, including a General Motors manufacturing plant.
Hardest hit was the suburb of Moore. The storm left more than 30,000 homes
without power.

"Emergency communication, delivering supplies to Salvation Army canteens
and helping with health and welfare are in process," Thomason said. "This
tornado hit some of the same areas as did the F5 tornado of May 1999." The
1999 storm claimed nearly 50 lives.

To keep an open frequency for amateurs to support The Salvation Army's
relief efforts, the FCC has declared a general communications emergency
for the Oklahoma area. Effective immediately, amateurs are required to
refrain from using 3900 kHz, plus or minus 3 kHz, unless they are taking
part in the handling of emergency traffic. The order remains in effect
until rescinded.

"The Amateur Radio effort will be under way for some time," Thomason said.
In a message to his Section, Thomason advised patience with the public,
the process and other Amateur Radio volunteers. "By pulling together
during these times the public, which desperately needs our help,
benefits," he said.


The administrator of the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) <>, Nancy J. Victory, has
applauded the FCC's decision to launch its inquiry into Broadband over
Power Line (BPL)--a form of power line communications (PLC). In an April
24 letter to FCC Chairman Michael Powell, the other four commissioners and
to FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief Edmond J. Thomas,
Victory said BPL "holds great promise" and urged the Commission to "move
forward expeditiously with its inquiry." At the same time, she called on
the FCC to make sure that BPL does not cause harmful interference to other

"I also urge the Commission to promptly adopt any subsequent rule changes
that may be appropriate to facilitate broadband PLC deployment, while
ensuring that those rules prevent harmful radio frequency (RF)
interference to other communications mediums." Victory wrote.

BPL has raised the specter of substantial interference to the HF bands
since it involves coupling high-frequency RF to parts of the power grid
and using existing power lines as the transmission medium to deliver
broadband and Internet services. The new so-called "access BPL" and
"in-home BPL" devices operate on multiple carriers spread over a wide
spectrum, which could be as much as from 2 MHz up to 80 MHz.

Victory offered NTIA's services in assisting the FCC with measuring and
testing broadband PLC emissions. An arm of the US Department of Commerce,
the NTIA regulates radio spectrum allocated to the federal government.

The FCC released a Notice of Inquiry on BPL deployment, ET Docket 03-104,
on April 28. The complete NOI is available on the FCC Web site

Interested parties may submit electronically filed comments via the FCC's
Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) <>.
Under ECFS Main Links, click on "Submit a Filing." In the "Proceeding"
field, enter "03-104" and complete the required field. Comments may be
typed into a form or you may attach a file containing your comments.
Comments also may be submitted via e-mail, per instructions on the ECFS
page. The comment deadline will be 45 days after publication of the NOI in
the Federal Register.

ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, has urged League members to become
informed and to comment in the proceeding. "The time to raise and answer
interference questions is now," he said. The ARRL Lab has prepared a
comprehensive information page, "Power Line Communications (PLC) and
Amateur Radio," <>. ARRL Lab staff
also will visit sites where BPL is undergoing field testing.


The International Space Station's all-ham Expedition 6 crew of Commander
Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP; Flight Engineer Nikolai Budarin, RV3FB, and NASA ISS
Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, is back on Earth. After spending more
than five months aboard the ISS, Bowersox and Pettit became the first NASA
astronauts to travel home from the ISS on a Russian Soyuz TMA-1 vehicle
and the first to land in a foreign country. But their return trip was not
without incident.

After undocking from the ISS May 3 at 2243 UTC, Bowersox, Pettit and
Budarin touched down May 4 at 0207 UTC in Kazakhstan--some 285 miles shy
of their intended target. The unexpected turn of events led to some tense
moments in the Russian mission control center, where space officials of
both countries were carefully--and anxiously--monitoring the crew's

The Soyuz was pulled onto its side in the hard landing, and its antennas
were damaged in the impact. Search aircraft eventually picked up the
Soyuz' emergency beacon and were able to locate the spacecraft and its
crew some 2-1/2 hours after touchdown. It was another two hours before
recovery helicopters arrived to pick up the crew from the remote Kazakh
steppes. All three were in good health, but NASA sent in two flight
surgeons and medical supplies to the Central Asia landing site just in

At week's end, it remained unclear why the advanced-model Soyuz TMA--the
first of its generation to land on Earth--undershot its intended landing
zone. News accounts indicate the vehicle inexplicably took a steeper and
faster "ballistic" re-entry trajectory instead of a more-controlled
landing approach. Russian space officials have promised an investigation.
The Soyuz will handle all crew transport to and from the ISS while the US
shuttle fleet remains grounded following the Columbia disaster February 1.
The grounding of the shuttle fleet forced Bowersox, Pettit and Budarin to
spend another two months in space while US and Russian space officials
worked out crew-exchange arrangements.

After a stop at Baikonur Cosmodrome, the crew headed for Star City,
Russia, and the Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center. There, they were
reunited with their families and began physical rehabilitation after
months of living in a weightless environment. They'll also undergo a
debriefing. Bowersox and Pettit are slated to return to Houston in

Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and NASA ISS Science
Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, arrived on the ISS April 28 aboard a Soyuz TMA-2
spacecraft for a six-month duty tour. They'll return to Earth in early
November. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS)
<> school group contacts will remain on hold for
the next few weeks as the new crew settles in.


Ben Schupack, NW7DX, of Sammamish, Washington, is the first-ever winner of
the William R. Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship
<>. The award,
administered through the ARRL Foundation, provides a full, four-year
undergraduate scholarship to a meritorious young Amateur Radio operator.
The new award is the result of a generous endowment from the late William
Goldfarb, N2ITP.

"Amateur Radio has played an incredible role in my life and as a ham,"
Schupack wrote in his award application. "Amateur Radio has opened many
doors for me. I have become interested in electronics, foreign languages,
antennas, propagation and more."

In addition to the Goldfarb Scholarship, the Foundation awarded
scholarships worth more than $31,000 to college-bound Amateur Radio
operators <>.

A senior at Eastlake High School with a 3.96 grade point average,
Schupack, 18, plans to attend Whitman College <> in
the fall to major in chemistry on his way to a dentistry career. The
Goldfarb Memorial Scholarship covers all typical college expenses,
including tuition, room and board and textbooks for the recipient's
four-year undergraduate education.

A distinguished prep trombone player, Schupack has been a member of the US
National Honor Band and the All-Northwest Honor Band. He's also a member
of the National Honor Society and EHS's varsity cross-country and track

An Amateur Extra licensee and an ARRL member, his ham radio
accomplishments are impressive. The 40-WPM Morse operator placed first in
the world for the 2001 World Wide WPX Contest in the Rookie, Low-Power,
Single Operator category; he was also first in that category in 1999 for
Canada, operating as NW7DX/VE7. He's also a member of the ARRL A-1
Operator Club and enjoys kit building and homebrewing. Primarily a CW
operator, Schupack said he also enjoys SSB and is exploring the newer
digital modes.

Before his death in 1997, Goldfarb set up a scholarship endowment of close
to $1 million in memory of his parents, Albert and Dorothy Goldfarb, who
died when he was a teenager. More information on the Goldfarb Memorial
Scholarship and on the ARRL Foundation is available on the Foundation's
Web site <>.


The FCC has affirmed a $12,000 fine against Technician-class Amateur Radio
operator Scott E. Kamm, N0UGN. The FCC released a Forfeiture Order May 7
alleging willful and repeated interference, broadcasting of music and
failing to identify with his call sign. The FCC's Kansas City office had
released a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) on January
24, but Kamm never filed a response, the FCC said. The Commission ordered
Kamm to pay the fine within 30 days.

Kamm's station was in Waterbury, Nebraska, at the time he was cited last
fall, although the FCC granted his February 27, 2002, application to
change his mailing address to a location in Sioux City, Iowa.

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

The FCC twice tracked similar signals to Kamm's residence in Waterbury,
Nebraska, inspected his station and found a transceiver capable of
operating on 146.31 MHz, the FCC said. Kamm claimed no transmissions were
made from his station.

During 2002, Kamm was the target of several letters and an FCC Warning
Notice from Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth. Last fall, the FCC's
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau set aside Kamm's amateur license
renewal based upon complaints about the operation of his station and
questions regarding his qualifications to be a licensee. Kamm's amateur
license expired last September 29, and his license renewal application,
filed August 8, has reverted to pending status.


Amateur Radio antenna bills in Tennessee and Indiana have been signed into
law by the governors of those states. Their successful passage brings to
19 the number of states that have adopted amateur antenna laws based on
the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1. Original versions of both
bills had contained minimum regulatory antenna structure heights, below
which localities could not regulate. Both left their respective
legislatures without those provisions.

Tennessee Gov Phil Bredesen signed his state's bill--a compromise between
the House and Senate versions of the legislation--on April 29. The measure
became law immediately upon his signature.

ARRL Tennessee State Government Liaison Ingrid Klose, KD4F, credited "a
concerted effort by Tennessee hams" for the bills' passage. She also said
it was significant that Bredesen signed the bill instead of just letting
it become law without his signature. "We believe that speaks for the
understanding the governor has, not only of the role of Amateur Radio
relative to the communications needs of Tennessee, but also of our needs
in order to be able to provide good communication service when needed,"
she said.

At the request of Tennessee ARRL Section leadership, lawmakers eliminated
language from the original Senate bill that would have incorporated a
schedule of minimum regulatory height limits. Tennessee Section Manager
Terry Cox, KB4KA, said proponents realized that chances of retaining the
original wording were slim, given the opposition to last year's proposal,
which had included a similar schedule of minimum antenna structure

Indiana's bill got Gov Frank O'Bannon's signature on April 30. It becomes
effective July 1 The bill that cleared the General Assembly did not
contain language incorporating a 75-foot minimum regulatory antenna
structure height, written into the Senate version of the bill but not
included in the version passed by the House. A House-Senate conference
committee cut out the 75-foot minimum, and the Senate passed the
stripped-down measure on a 39-9 roll-call vote.

The bills approved in both states prohibit localities from enacting or
enforcing ordinances, resolutions or orders that do not comply with the
PRB-1 limited federal preemption--distilled within the Part 97 Amateur
Service rules in ß97.15, "Station antenna structures." Both measures also
require ordinances involving the placement, screening or height of Amateur
Radio antennas based on health, safety or aesthetics to "reasonably
accommodate" Amateur Radio communications and represent the minimal
practicable regulation to accomplish a municipality's or county's
legitimate purpose.

The Indiana law also permits municipalities or counties to act to protect
or preserve historical or architectural districts established under local,
state or federal law.

Amateur Radio antenna laws in only a handful of states--Oregon, Virginia,
Alaska and Wyoming--include minimum regulatory height limits. Amateur
Radio antenna bills are pending in several other states, including New
York, New Jersey and California.


Great Britain's new Foundation license
<> has reversed the slide in
licensee numbers and reinvigorated Amateur Radio in the UK. That was the
assessment of Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) <>
President Bob Whelan, G3PJT, who headed an RSGB contingent that visited
ARRL Headquarters April 29-30.

"We had some pretty alarming statistics," Whelan told his audience of ARRL
staff members. He said the RSGB realized that if nothing changed, the
number of Amateur Radio exams given would drop to zero in five years, "and
time was marching on." That trend, coupled with a rising median age in the
Amateur Radio population in the UK and RSGB members' desire for a
"practical, progressive" approach to licensing prompted the RSGB to
rethink the licensing structure, Whelan said.

As a result, the RSGB conceived of and convinced the Radiocommunications
Agency to approve the Foundation license as a "radically different"
entry-level approach to Amateur Radio and the first step in a three-tiered
licensing structure. Among other new requirements, Foundation applications
must demonstrate the ability to make an on-the-air contact. Because the
RSGB considered HF access "essential" to newcomers, it devised a Morse
assessment--rather than a proficiency examination--to qualify applicants.

Since the Foundation license became available January 1, 2002, Great
Britain has seen the number of amateurs rise by 4000--approximately a
quarter of them under age 21. "It was slightly unexpected," Whelan
conceded. The RSGB had planned on an initial rush of 1000 candidates, but
three months into the new program, the organization found itself inundated
with 3000 applications. There are 50,000 amateur licensees in the UK.
Foundation licensees sport M3-prefix call signs and have privileges on all
bands from 136 kHz to 440 MHz--except 10 meters--with a 10 W power limit.

Foundation license classes often are offered through weekend sessions
sponsored by local radio clubs. In addition to the Morse assessment, which
has no specific code speed requirement, applicants must pass a 20-question
(soon to be 25-question) written examination.

More information on the Foundation License is available on the RSGB Web
site <> (click on "Foundation Licence Courses").

The RSGB delegation also included General Manager Peter Kirby, G0TWW, and
Commercial Manager Mark Allgar, M1MPA. While at ARRL Headquarters, the
RSGB team also discussed with ARRL staff members preparations for World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003, International Amateur Radio Union
concerns, power line communications, sales and marketing issues and other
topics of mutual interest.


Propagation prophet Tad "Sun King" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Active geomagnetic conditions continue. Average planetary A index
this week was 20.7, and 23.7 the week before.

Solar flux and sunspot numbers were down this week. Average sunspot
numbers were down nearly 40 points from the previous week, and average
solar flux was down more than 10 points. Predicted solar flux for Friday,
May 9, to Monday, May 12, is 95, 95, 100 and 100.

The latest forecast shows planetary A index not going below 20 until May
16. The earth is currently inside a solar wind stream. An interplanetary
shock wave, probably from a coronal mass, hit Earth May 9 at 0500 UTC and
should keep conditions active.

Sunspot numbers for May 1 through 7 were 171, 175, 134, 172, 144, 117 and
109, with a mean of 146. The 10.7-cm flux was 148.7, 156.5, 147.7, 142,
128.8, 122 and 110.2 with a mean of 136.6. Estimated planetary A indices
were 40, 17, 10, 7, 12, 23 and 36, with a mean of 20.7.

An expanded Solar Update appears each Friday on the ARRL Web site



* This weekend on the radio: The Armed Forces Day Crossband Communications
Tests <>, the Nevada and
Oregon QSO parties, the VOLTA Worldwide RTTY Contest, the FISTS Spring
Sprint (May 10), the CQ-M International DX Contest and the 50-MHz Spring
Sprint are the weekend of May 10-11. JUST AHEAD: The US Counties QSO Party
(SSB), the Anatolian RTTY Worldwide Contest, His Majesty the King of Spain
Contest (CW) and the Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 17-18. The CQ
Worldwide WPX Contest (CW) is the weekend of May 24-25. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration is
closed for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line
course (EC-001) that begins May 20, sponsored by the Corporation for
National and Community Service. Registration opens Monday, May 12, 12:01
AM EDT (0401 UTC), for the Level II Emergency Communications on-line
course (EC-002). Registration remains open through May 18 or until all
available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins
Tuesday, May 27. Thanks to a grant from United Technologies Corporation,
the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed after
successful completion of the Level II course. During this registration
period, approximately 50 seats are being offered to ARRL members on a
first-come, first-served basis. A new service now allows those interested
in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in
the future to receive advance word of registration opportunities via
e-mail. To take advantage, send an e-mail to On the
subject line, include the course name or number (eg, EC-00#). 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 Emergency Communications
Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG,; 860-594-0340.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the ARRL Antenna Modeling (EC-004) course
<> opens Monday, May 12, 12:01 AM EDT
(0401 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday, May 18. Class begins
Tuesday afternoon, May 20. 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: An article "Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act To Get
Public Airing" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 18 (May 2, 2003),
incorrectly identified the political affiliation of Rep Jerry Moran of
Kansas. Rep Moran is a Republican.

* Turkish hams help following earthquake: Within hours after a deadly
earthquake hit in the vicinity of the city of Bingol in southeastern
Turkey on May 1, a contingent of Amateur Radio operators arrived on the
scene. Amateurs, who traveled from Erzurum with a Civil Defense team, were
able to reach the repeater in Erzurum--some 3210 meters above sea
level--from some parts of the stricken city. From Erzurum, a Turkey Radio
Amateur Club (TRAC) station relayed traffic via HF, said TRAC President
Aziz Sasa, TA1E. Sasa says a three-person team from TRAC's Malatya Branch
arrived at the disaster scene about 10 hours later and got an HF station
on the air at the Incident Command Center. In addition, he said, two
members from TRAC's Ankara Branch were deployed via a military aircraft
with Civil Defense personnel. The Amateur Radio operation wrapped up May 4
along with rescue activities. "During the four-day operation a nationwide
HF network was active," Sasa said. "As there is the fear of some further
strong seismic activities in that particular region, we will try to
arrange a VHF-UHF local area voice network there as quickly as possible."
He said ham radio operators and equipment are scarce in the extremely
mountainous area, but the elevation eases the installation of a VHF-UHF

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 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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