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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 27
July 11, 2003


* +"BPL is a Pandora's Box," ARRL tells FCC
* +WRC-03 records radio history in 40-meter compromise
* +Astronauts still drinking Tang--or something like it
* +See you on 60!
* +ARRL Board to meet in Connecticut
* +Dean of ARRL Section Managers steps down
* +FCC accepting comments on petition to set bandwidth limits
*  FCC attempting to rectify call sign goof
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Hurricane Watch Net activates for Claudette
     California antenna bill reaches governor's desk
     Astronaut works dozens of stations from ISS during Field Day
     Museum Ships Special Event set
     Top 40-meter DXer Al Hix, W8AH, SK

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Citing the potential for interference to and from Amateur Radio, the ARRL
has called on the FCC to "take no steps" to permit Broadband over Power
Line (BPL)--a form of power line carrier (PLC) technology. In response to
the FCC's BPL Notice of Inquiry (NOI) published May 23, the League this
week filed a 120-page response--including studies. The NOI, which asked
how the FCC should regulate the delivery of broadband services to homes
and businesses using electrical wiring to conduct high-speed digital
signals, attracted some 1900 comments--many from the amateur community--by
the July 7 comment deadline.

"ARRL is unwilling to have the Amateur Service gored with the double-edged
sword of an incompatible service that will at once (1) cause widespread
interference, and (2) preclude any future changes in the amateur HF
allocations," the ARRL said. The League said that based on "diligent and
exhaustive research," it's concluded that BPL must avoid any and all
amateur MF, HF and VHF allocations without exception.

The League said that while it's aware that current Part 15 rules permit
BPL, its interference potential remains untested and unrealized, since no
access BPL systems are in operation. BPL proponents would prefer that the
FCC authorize even higher power levels for such systems, however.

"BPL is a Pandora's Box of unprecedented proportions," the ARRL declared.
It asked the FCC to modify its Part 15 rules to prevent interference to
users of the HF and low-VHF spectrum from the start and "to prevent
consumers' reliance on BPL as an interference-free broadband delivery

Studies appended to the League's comments suggest received signal levels
of BPL broadband noise at typical amateur stations would be anywhere from
34 dB to 65 dB higher than typical ambient noise levels in the worst-case
situations. "BPL cannot be deployed using amateur allocations in the MF,
HF and VHF bands without severely high interference potential," the ARRL

Electric utility companies would operate many, if not most, BPL systems.
ARRL pointed out that some power companies have demonstrated a
less-than-stellar record of cooperation in resolving complaints of power
line noise to hams. "It is a very substantial problem now for the Amateur
Service, without the addition of BPL to the mix," the League said.

The ARRL concluded by urging the FCC to ensure that BPL "is not permitted
to operate in or near any Amateur Radio allocations" and that any future
changes in ham allocations would "trigger retroactive modifications to BPL
facilities" to avoid amateur frequencies.

ARRL's comments and additional information are available on the ARRL Web
site <>.

The ARRL has initiated an important Spectrum Defense Fund campaign to
support activities to educate government officials on the potential threat
that BPL poses to Amateur Radio. To find out more, or to support ARRL's
efforts in this area, visit the ARRL's secure BPL Web site


In a historic move, delegates to World Radiocommunication Conference 2003
(WRC-03) agreed to move broadcasters out of 7100 to 7200 kHz in Regions 1
and 3 to make room for the Amateur Service. International Amateur Radio
Union (IARU) Secretary--and ARRL CEO--David Sumner, K1ZZ, said the
"carefully crafted compromise" calls for broadcasters to vacate 7100 to
7200 kHz by March 29, 2009. Amateurs in the US and the rest of Region 2
will continue to enjoy the 7000 to 7300 kHz band they now have, and
eventually with greatly reduced broadcasting interference.

The compromise marked the first time in the history of internationally
coordinated radio spectrum allocation that an HF broadcasting band was
shifted to accommodate the needs of another service. It cuts in half the
incompatibility between amateur and broadcasting use of the 7 MHz band and
doubles the 40-meter spectrum available to amateurs in Regions 1 and 3.

While the result falls short of the IARU's goal of a 300-kHz worldwide
exclusive band for amateurs, the cooperation of broadcasters, opposing
delegates and many others was required to make a positive step for ham
radio. Spectrum between 4 and 10 MHz is on the agenda for WRC-07, but the
next conference will not consider further changes to 7000-7200 kHz.

As expected, WRC-03 also dropped the international Morse code requirement
for HF access, leaving individual countries to decide if they want to
retain a code proficiency requirement (Switzerland already has dropped the
requirement). In addition, the conference adopted a number of improvements
to other international regulations for the Amateur Service. Delegates also
agreed to allow a secondary allocation for satellite borne synthetic
aperture radars at 70 cm and, in an Article 19 change, made amateur call
sign assignments more flexible.

Michael Owen, VK3KI, a member of the IARU team at Geneva, has provided a
detailed explanation of Article 25 changes in the article "New Regulations
for the Amateur Services." It's available on the IARU Web site

More than 2600 delegates and other participants attended the
four-week-long conference, chaired by Dr Veena Rawat of Canada. For
WRC-03, the IARU fielded its largest team of observers at an ITU
conference in more than a decade. In addition to Sumner and Owen, the
team--led by IARU President Larry Price, W4RA--included Bob Jones, VE7RWJ;
Wojciech Nietyksza, SP5FM, and Ken Pulfer, VE3PU. More than a dozen other
amateurs were present on national delegations or in other roles for the
IARU, its regional organizations and member-societies.

Changes to Articles 19 and 25 took effect on July 5, 2003. In general, the
other Final Acts take effect on January 1, 2005.


Despite some technical problems, youngsters at the Challenger Learning
Center of Northwest Indiana
<> got answers
to more than a dozen questions via ham radio from NASA International Space
Station Science Officer and Flight Engineer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ. The direct
2-meter contact took place June 26 between Lu, at the controls of NA1SS,
and W9PUC, the call sign of the Purdue Calumet Amateur Radio Society,
whose members assisted in setting up the Earth station equipment. The
contact was arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the International
Space Station (ARISS) program.

One youngster asked Lu if astronauts still drink Tang--the orange drink
made from powder--while in space. "Actually, we do have an orange drink,
I'm not sure if it's actually Tang or not--actually, I think it might
be--but it's labeled as 'orange drink.'" Lu said. "When you add water to
it, it tastes pretty good."

Despite the February 1 shuttle Columbia disaster, Lu told another
Challenger Center camper that he was not worried about having to pass
through Earth's atmosphere when the crew returns from space in October.
"Obviously, space flight can be risky, but our ship is totally different
than the shuttle," he said, noting that the Russian Soyuz now being used
to transport ISS crew members doesn't even have wings. "I think it will go
just fine," Lu predicted.

The Expedition 6 crew experienced a bit of a bumpy landing this spring in
its Soyuz spacecraft and also undershot their landing zone. The NASA
shuttle fleet remains grounded.

Taking off from Earth was quite an experience, Lu told another youngster,
saying it felt as if "a giant hand" were pushing him back into his seat
aboard the Soyuz. Lu has been maintaining a Web site
<> that describes his perspective on life in space.

The Expedition 7 crew of Lu and Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko,
RK3DUO, has another four months left on its duty tour. Lu--who turned 40
in space July 1--told the grade three through eight youngsters that the
two-man crew has been involved in hundreds of experiments, some of which
involve observing the Earth and others the crew members themselves, he

The contact was plagued at various points by poor downlink signal
reception. Charlie Sufana, AJ9N, the ARISS mentor for the contact, said
some 150 to 175 people were in attendance for the event. Ed Perosky,
K9TZT, served as the Amateur Radio coordinator, while Mark Skowronski,
K9MQ, was control operator. Members of the Lake County Amateur Radio Club
also assisted. ARISS is an international program with participation by


US amateurs had been counting down the weeks, days and hours. Now, the
five new 60-meter "channel center" frequencies--5332, 5348, 5368, 5373 and
5405 kHz--are available! Given the constraints imposed on the five lightly
used government frequencies, ARRL advises members to demonstrate their
best operating behavior and to use common sense when operating under the
new rules. The channelized domestic, secondary allocation at 5 MHz marks
the first new HF amateur band since the 1980s.

The only legal mode is upper sideband voice (USB), with a maximum
bandwidth of 2.8 kHz (centered within each channel). On July 3, the first
day the band was available, hundreds of operators opened up on one of the
channels to grab their first contacts. The friendly free-for-all took
place on a fairly level playing field, however, since the FCC has imposed
a 50 W effective radiated power (ERP) limit. The new FCC
rules--ß97.303(s)--define this as the transmitter output in peak envelope
power (PEP) multiplied by antenna gain relative to a half-wave dipole or
the equivalent calculation in decibels. The Commission presumes that a
half-wave dipole on the 5 MHz allocation has a gain of 0 dBd.

Licensees using antennas other than a half-wave dipole must maintain in
their station records either manufacturer data on the antenna gain or
calculations of the antenna gain. The bottom line for most hams will be to
erect a wire dipole, set their transmitter to 50 W PEP output and enjoy
the new band.

For more information, see the 60-Meter FAQs posted on the ARRL Web site

Amateurs in the US and the United Kingdom share one 5-MHz channel--5405
kHz. While it's legal for US hams to work UK amateurs--and some
transatlantic contacts already have been reported--the RSGB 5 MHz Working
Group says UK hams are on the band specifically as part of propagation and
equipment experiments, not to make general contacts.


The consequences for Amateur Radio of the recently concluded World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) will be among the top items up
for discussion when the ARRL Board of Directors meets July 18-19 in
Windsor, Connecticut. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will chair the

At WRC-03, which concluded July 4 in Geneva, delegates reached a
compromise on a 200-kHz worldwide allocation--7000 to 7200 kHz--effective
in 2009, with no change to the existing 300-kHz allocation in the US and
elsewhere in Region 2. The conference also eliminated the requirement that
amateur applicants prove Morse code proficiency to operate below 30 MHz,
leaving it up to individual administrations to retain or drop Morse code
as an examination element.

Decisions made at WRC-03 also resulted in a wide variety of changes to
other sections of Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations
affecting international communications. Those changes, which must now be
reflected in US Amateur Service rules, include third-party traffic rules,
international recognition of the licenses of visiting amateurs and
communication with so-called "banned countries."

ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ--who attended WRC-03 in his capacity of IARU
Secretary--anticipates that Board members also will start looking ahead to
Amateur Radio issues that are expected to surface at the next WRC, now
being called WRC-07. Those would include the issue of possible worldwide
amateur access to 7200 to 7300 kHz among other topics.

The FCC's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) initiative and Notice of Inquiry
in ET Docket 03-104 is another likely major topic at this year's second
Board session. The Board meeting discussion is expected to shift focus to
the League's next steps in confronting the potential BPL threat.

Board members also will review a major ARRL Technical Relations Office
study--commissioned at last July's Board meeting--of the bands from 902
MHz to 24.25 GHz. The so-called "Minute 56" report evaluates spectrum use
policies in the upper-UHF bands with an eye toward developing options to
protect the allocations and to make greater amateur use of those

In addition, ARRL Board members will hear a report from the Ad Hoc HF
Digital Modes Committee. President Haynie last July appointed the panel to
study new HF data modes in the Amateur Service. The Committee was to
develop recommendations for introduction of voice-bandwidth data modes and
to advise the Board on amateur Internet HF linking and HF automatic

Radio Amateurs of Canada President Bill Gillis, VE1WG, will be a guest at
this month's Board meeting.


The dean of ARRL Section Managers--New Mexico's Joe Knight, W5PDY--stepped
down July 2 as Section Manager there after serving for nearly 27
years--longer than any other sitting SM. Knight cited poor health in his
decision to retire from the volunteer position. ARRL Field and Educational
Services Manager Rosalie White, K1STO, has named New Mexico Assistant SM
Bill Weatherford, KM5FT, of Albuquerque, to fill the remainder of Knight's
term, which ends December 31.

"It hurts me deeply to step down, but after almost 27 years in this
position, all good things must come to an end," said Knight, who urged
support for his replacement. A Life Member and an Assistant SM,
Weatherford is the trustee of Albuquerque Amateur Radio Club's N5VA. White
says Weatherford already has indicated plans to run for the SM job in his
own right later this year.

Among those praising Knight was Bernalillo County Emergency Management
Coordinator Don Scott, N5UJT, who cited Knight's many years of "tireless
effort" in coordinating and promoting Amateur Radio in New Mexico. "As an
emergency manager, the services of Joe and Amateur Radio as a whole cannot
go unnoticed," Scott said.

Knight was the focus of an article in the January 2003 issue of QST, "The
Luckiest Man Alive," which outlined the vast emergency communication
resources that Knight and hundreds of other dedicated volunteers have
built up over the years in New Mexico.

ARRL Field and Public Service Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X, said
Knight provided a fount of valuable experience that he was happy to share
with others. "For several years, Joe has helped with the ARRL Section
Manager's Workshop for new SMs," Ewald said.

In other SM changes, White appointed Ti-Michelle Connelly, NJ6T, as East
Bay Section Manager. She replaces Dennis Franklin, K6DF, who stepped down
effective June 23 citing health reasons. Connelly will serve out the
remainder of Franklin's term, which ends December 31. She has served as an
Assistant SM and Affiliated Club Coordinator for about three years and as
Net Manager for two years.

White also has announced the appointment of Randy Stimson, KZ7T, as ARRL
Oregon Section Manager. Stimson replaces Marshall D. Johnson, KK7CW, who
was removed from office in a June recall election. Stimson had served
previously as Oregon SM from 1987 until 1998 and he remains active in
Amateur Radio public service activities. Stimson will remain in office
until the next SM term begins July 1, 2004.


The FCC is accepting comments on a Petition for Rule Making from two
amateurs calling on the FCC to establish SSB and AM bandwidth standards.
The FCC has assigned RM-10740 to the petition, filed May 27 by Michael
Lonneke, W0YR, of Round Hill, Virginia, and Melvin Ladisky, W6FDR, of
Camarillo, California. The Lonneke-Ladisky petition had attracted some 100
comments by week's end. Comments are due by July 26.

Referencing four Enforcement Bureau letters (one of which was included in
the petition as an exhibit) sent to amateurs and alleging overly wide SSB
signals, the petition asks the FCC to "remove the ambiguity" in the Part
97 rules and establish SSB and AM transmission bandwidth standards. On HF
frequencies below 28.8 MHz, it recommends a maximum 2.8 kHz bandwidth for
SSB (J3E) emissions and a maximum 5.6 kHz bandwidth for AM (A3E)

Amateurs may read and comment on this petition via the FCC's Electronic
Comment Filing System (ECFS) <>.


The FCC has issued a Memorandum Opinion and Order (MO&O) in an effort to
rescind a vanity call sign it issued in error to a Virginia amateur. Last
August, the FCC's Licensing and Technical Analysis Branch of the Public
Safety and Private Wireless Division (within the Wireless
Telecommunications Bureau) erroneously granted the request of Richard L.
Smith of Chesapeake, Virginia, to have the call sign KC4USH. The Branch is
responsible for issuing all amateur license and call sign grants.

The Commission says that since the KC4USA through KC4USZ call sign block
has been made available to the US Navy for the use of amateur stations in
Antarctica, the KC4USH call sign should not have been issued to Smith, a
General-class licensee who used to be KG4UKV. The FCC now wants Smith to
take back his former call sign (along with a refund of his vanity
application fee, of course).

The MO&O was released July 3 and signed by D'wana Terry, Chief of the
Public Safety and Private Wireless Division. The FCC will not issue a
modification order until Smith has received notice of the proposed action
and has a chance to protest, something he must do in writing within 30


Sun seeker Tad "Sunshine On My Shoulders" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: This has been quite an interesting week for propagation and a
fruitful one for DXers on both HF and VHF.

This weekend is the IARU HF World Championship. Predicted planetary A
index for Friday through Monday, July 11-14, is 25, 20, 15 and 15. Solar
flux is expected to slowly drift down to a minimum of 115, where it is
expected to stay from around July 17-22.

Sunspot numbers for July 3 through 9 were 147, 130, 88, 114, 140, 149 and
125, with a mean of 127.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 132.2, 140, 141.9, 129.6,
133.3, 131.3 and 126, with a mean of 133.5. Estimated planetary A indices
were 17, 25, 17, 12, 14, 5 and 6, with a mean of 13.7.



* This weekend on the radio: The IARU HF World Championship, the FISTS
Summer Sprint, the QRP ARCI Summer Homebrew Sprint are the weekend of July
12-13. JUST AHEAD: The North American QSO Party, RTTY, the Pacific
160-Meter Contest, the CQ World Wide VHF Contest and the CQC Great
Colorado Gold Rush events are the weekend of July 19-20. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: A few seats may
remain for the Level I ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications on-line
course (EC-001) that begins July 22 and is sponsored by the United
Technologies Corporation. Registration opens Monday, July 14, 12:01 AM
Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC), for the Level II Emergency
Communications on-line course (EC-002). Registration remains open through
the July 12-13 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, July 29. Thanks to
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 75 seats are being
offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. To learn
more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE)
<> 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,
July 14, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC). Registration will
remain open through Sunday, July 20. Class begins Tuesday, July 22. Those
interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE)
course in the future can sign up to be advised via e-mail in advance of
registration opportunities. To take advantage, send an e-mail to On the subject line, indicate the course name or number
(eg, EC-00#) and the month you want to start the course. In the message
body, provide your name, call sign, and e-mail address. Please do not send
inquiries to this mailbox. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education (C-CE) Web page <> and the
C-CE links found there. For more information, contact Certification and
Continuing Education Program Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* Hurricane Watch Net keeping a close eye on Claudette: The Hurricane
Watch Net <> secured operations on 14.325 MHz at 0130
UTC on July 11 for Tropical Storm Claudette. The storm had been predicted
to reach hurricane status, but it was diminishing in strength over the
Yucatan Peninsula at week's end. The activation for Claudette at 1800 UTC
on July 10 was the first of the 2003 hurricane season. HWN members share
storm information with forecasters via WX4NHC at the National Hurricane
Center in Miami. Net Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, has cautioned that once
the storm clears the Yucatan and heads into the warm waters of the Gulf of
Mexico, it again could become a major threat to Gulf Coast communities.
"We will continue to monitor progress of this storm and will advise if
activation of the Hurricane Watch Net might again be called for," Pilgrim
said. "In the meantime, interested parties should access the weather
advisories available at on the Net's Web site <> or
otherwise monitor the Maritime Mobile Service Net <>
on 14.300 MHz for frequent updates of the tropical weather outlook."
Meanwhile, Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) National
Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E, was asking SATERN personnel in its
Southern Territory to remain alert to further HWN activation and to
support net activities if needed. "If Claudette becomes a hurricane and
makes landfall, it is likely that SATERN will activate to pass emergency
traffic and handle health and welfare," McPherson said. The SATERN net
operates on 14.265 kHz.

* California antenna bill reaches governor's desk: Proponents of
California's Amateur Radio antenna bill, AB 1228, are encouraging
California amateurs to contact Gov Gray Davis to urge him to sign the
measure, which is now on his desk. On June 30, the California Assembly on
a 77-0 vote concurred with changes in language that the Senate had made in
the legislation. The bill went to the governor for his signature on July
3. AB 1228 would incorporate the essence of the limited federal preemption
known as PRB-1
<> into
California law. ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, and
Southwestern Division Director Art Goddard, W6XD, are asking that members
consider sending a message either via e-mail <>; or
via the US Postal Service similar to this sample letter
<>. Send mail to Gov Gray
Davis, ATTN: Armand Feliciano, State Capitol, Sacramento, CA 95814. All
correspondents should include their name and address. The governor's
office does not accept e-mail attachments. "Amateurs also may wish to send
a QSL card with the message, 'Please sign AB 1228,'" Vallio said. "That
may also prove to be effective." Davis vetoed a similar Amateur Radio
antenna bill three years ago. The most ham-populated state in the US,
California is home to some 100,000 licensees--almost 15 percent of the US

* Astronaut works dozens of stations from ISS during Field Day: US
astronaut Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, worked more than three dozen stations from NA1SS
aboard the International Space Station during Field Day 2003 June 28-29.
The contacts appear to have been made during at least two ISS passes over
North America. Operating the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station equipment, Lu managed to contact 39 stations in the US, Canada and
Mexico on 2-meter FM simplex. For more information on ARISS, visit the
ARISS Web site <>.

* Museum Ships Special Event set: The USS Cassin Young Radio Club will
sponsor the annual Museum Ships Special Event July 19-20 (UTC). Seventy
museum vessels--including everything from aircraft carriers and
battleships to submarines and tugboats--are poised to participate in the
event. While most vessels are in the US, several are in Europe. Stations
set up onboard participating vessels will use SSB and CW (as well as other
modes, including AM, PSK31 and IRLP) on various HF amateur frequencies.
All of these museum ships are open to the public. More information,
including suggested frequencies and a list of participating vessels, is
available on the USS Cassin Young Radio Club Web site
<>, which will be updated as new
information is available. The destroyer USS Cassin Young in Boston Harbor
will be on the air during the Museum Ships Special Event as WW2DD.

* Top 40-meter DXer Al Hix, W8AH, SK: Albert H. "Al" Hix, W8AH, of
Charleston, West Virginia, died June 25, after a brief illness. He was 85.
A DXCC Honor Roll member with 388 entities confirmed, Hix also was at the
top of the worldwide 40-meter DXCC pile with 362 entities. ARRL West
Virginia Section Manager Hal Turley, KC8FS, said Hix could be tenacious in
a DX pileup, but called him "a true gentleman" who loved to share his love
for ham radio. Licensed in the 1930s, Hix was an electrical engineering
graduate of West Virginia University and World War II US Army Signal Corps
veteran. A past president of the West Virginia State Radio Council and of
the West Virginia Quarter Century Wireless Association, Hix was voted West
Virginia Outstanding Amateur Radio Operator of the Year in 1986. He was a
member of ARRL and of the Kanawha Amateur Radio Club. The family invites
donations to the ARRL Foundation's pending Albert H. Hix Memorial
Scholarship Fund, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111-1484.

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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