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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 33
August 22, 2003


* +ARRL says BPL industry comments lack substance
* +NTIA weighs in on BPL
* +Concert pianist-ham finishes charity run
* +The list of codeless countries grows
* +Popular UO-14 satellite out of operation
* +At least two hams hurt in Baghdad blast
* +FCC designates former ham's GMRS application for hearing
* +Nominations open for 2003 Professional Media Award
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Spam a result of virus e-mail spoofing, not from ARRL
     Kentucky ARES assists in search for missing aircraft
     2003 McGan Award nomination deadline looms

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The ARRL says Broadband over Power Line (BPL) proponents failed in their
comments to the FCC to substantiate their claims that the technology will
not cause widespread interference. In reply comments filed August 20--the
FCC's deadline to receive comments in the Notice of Inquiry, ET Docket
03-104--the League said that if the FCC is going to rely on industry
statements in making decisions on BPL deployment, the industry should back
up its assertions with technical studies and hard data and make these

"Unfounded assurances that BPL will not cause interference are no
substitute for real-world measurements," the League declared, "and the FCC
should rely on documented test results and an impact of interference
potential based on scientific, not marketing, criteria."

A form of power line carrier--or PLC--technology, BPL would use existing
low and medium-voltage power lines to deliver broadband services to homes
and businesses using frequencies between 2 and 80 MHz. Some BPL
proponents--primarily electric power utilities--already are testing BPL
systems in several markets and want the FCC to relax radiation limits.

"Power lines are ubiquitous, and attempts by the BPL industry to obtain
relaxed emission classifications based on operating environment are
obviously illogical and frivolous," the ARRL said. BPL would impact not
only hams but public safety low-band VHF systems and other mobile systems,
the League's comments added.

In contrast to the BPL advocates' "blanket statements" of no interference
from BPL field trial sites, the ARRL said its own field tests "lead
inescapably to the conclusion that BPL will, if deployed, create
widespread harmful interference." It predicted signal levels of up to 30
dB over S9 on a typical amateur transceiver, "well beyond what would
preclude amateur HF communications entirely."

To dramatize its point, the League urged the Commission to view video
<> shot during recent ARRL
test-and-measurement forays to BPL field trial communities in four states.
The ARRL said the type of degradation expected from BPL would transform 20
meters from a band with worldwide communication capabilities to one of
limited regional communication capability.

"ARRL has, in fact, done what the BPL industry should have done--brought
an amateur station to the trial area," the League said. "When it did so,
the interference was manifest and widespread and would be so even to an
untrained observer."

The League also noted that comments in the proceeding so far have been
silent on the interference susceptibility of BPL to ham radio signal
ingress. The League predicted that even as little as 250 mW of signal
induced into overhead power lines some 100 feet from an amateur antenna
could degrade a BPL system or render it inoperative.

The ARRL called on the FCC to stop acting like a cheerleader for BPL. "It
is past time that the Commission acted in its proper role as a steward of
the radio spectrum and recognized the interference potential of BPL to the
sensitive incumbent licensed services in these bands," the League
concluded. "The Commission cannot stretch the Part 15 regulations as far
as would be required to accommodate BPL."

The League's complete reply comments are available on the ARRL Web site
l> along with more information
<>. Additional information
and video clips are on the ARRL "Power Line Communications (PLC) and
Amateur Radio" page

To support the League's efforts in the BPL fight, visit the ARRL's secure
BPL Web site <>.


The National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) has
weighed in on the FCC's Broadband over Power Line (BPL) initiative. While
urging the FCC to "move forward expeditiously" with its inquiry into BPL,
the NTIA expressed "broad concerns" about interference to government
users. The NTIA also has launched an extensive modeling, analysis and
measurement program for BPL. A Commerce Department branch, NTIA
administers spectrum allocated to federal government users.

"Notwithstanding BPL's potential benefits, the Commission must ensure that
other communications services, especially government operations, are
adequately protected from unacceptable interference," the NTIA said in
late-filed comments in the BPL Notice of Inquiry. "In tailoring its rules
to promote BPL deployment, the Commission must be certain to provide all
communications stakeholders with adequate protections against BPL
emissions that may cause unacceptable radio frequency interference."

Until releasing its comments this month, the NTIA has been largely silent
on the issue since last spring. In an April 24 letter, then-NTIA
administrator Nancy J. Victory applauded the FCC's decision to launch its
inquiry into BPL, but called on the Commission to make sure that BPL does
not cause harmful interference to other services.

In early July, Frederick R. Wentland, NTIA's associate administrator in
the Office of Spectrum Management, told the FCC that the NTIA did not
favor Current Technologies LLC's <>
request for a permanent waiver of the field strength limit specified for
Class B emissions under FCC Part 15 rules. A Maryland BPL developer,
Current Technologies already is field testing and marketing the

Wentland worried that the pole-mounted interfaces and outdoor power lines
used for BPL could interfere with public safety communication in the 30 to
50 MHz range. He told FCC Office of Engineering and Technology Chief
Edmond J. Thomas that the "unobstructed and ubiquitous nature of this BPL
application, and perhaps other aspects of BPL, differs considerably from
the situations presently found in typical unintentional radiators"
operating under Part 15.

Wentland--named recently to succeed Victory as NTIA administrator on an
interim basis--also invited the FCC to coordinate its own BPL measurement
activities with those of the NTIA.

The NTIA's comments, which have not been posted on the FCC Web site, are
available on the NTIA Web site


Concert pianist and cancer survivor Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, has completed
his 880-mile "Celebrate Life Run" <> from
Tulsa, Oklahoma, to the Chicago area. An ARRL member, Berkofsky set out
jogging on April 9, his 60th birthday, to celebrate his recovery from
cancer and to raise money for research into the disease. He concluded his
marathon around midday August 20 in Zion, Illinois. He performed a special
concert August 21 for cancer patients, their families and staff members at
Cancer Treatment Centers of America (CTCA) Midwestern Regional Medical

"How grateful I am for all of the support and help from so many radio
amateurs," Berkofsky told ARRL. He singled out for special mention the
Tulsa Amateur Radio Club and its president, Gregg Wonderly, W5GGW, as well
as the Washington (Missouri) Zero Beaters, the Chicago FM Club, and his
QSL manager Murray Green, K3BEQ. He also acknowledged "the countless radio
amateurs who kept me company with on-the-road QSOs, many even driving out
to meet me personally and to help me with road directions when my maps
weren't clear."

Along the way, Berkofsky carried a quad-band ham radio handheld
transceiver to chat with locals as he passed through their communities. He
also marked his daily position using borrowed APRS gear and made some QSOs
via EchoLink.

Berkofsky says he set a daily record of 23.1 miles on July 16. "Went
through the wall, as runners would say," he said.

CTCA and the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation (CTRF)
<> sponsored Berkofsky's run and
are benefactors of the donations pledged on its behalf. CTCA says his run
raised more than $80,000 for cancer research.

"How proud I am to say that Amateur Radio played such a large part in
this," Berkofsky added. "I think it will take months to really understand
everything that has happened." The run also garnered extensive media
coverage along its route.

"What an incredible experience, what incredible lessons . . . what a
wonderful country we have" Berkofsky said. "I hope I come out of this as a
better person."


Two more countries have joined the small, but growing, list of
administrations that no longer require Amateur Radio applicants to pass a
Morse code test to have access to HF. Others have indicated they will do
so soon. Affected countries also have granted HF privileges to their
amateurs who hold "no-code" VHF/UHF licenses.

Joining Switzerland, Belgium, the UK and Germany are Norway and the
Netherlands. Waiting in the wings are Austria and New Zealand.

The actions are in response to the World Radiocommunication Conference
2003 decision to delete the requirement to prove Morse code ability from
the international Radio Regulations, leaving individual administrations to
decide if they want to retain it or not.

The Norwegian Post and Telecommunication Authority <>
reportedly has told the Norwegian Radio Relay League <>
that the three former license classes--with LA, LB and LC call sign
prefixes--were combined into one class on August 19. Those holding LC call
signs have been issued new LA-prefix call signs, and those holding
LB-prefix call signs may apply for LA call signs if they wish.

The Netherlands Radiocommunications Agency
<> announced this week that Morse
proficiency will cease to be a requirement for HF access as of September
1. The Netherlands' Class A and C licenses--which correspond to CEPT
Classes 1 and 2 respectively--will enjoy the same privileges, although
they'll retain their distinctive call sign prefixes for now. The change
does not affect the Class N license, which permits 2-meter and 70-cm
operation only. A letter to all amateurs was to go out this week to all
hams in the Netherlands.

Information from Austria's IARU member-society, the Austrian Experimental
Radio Transmitters Union (OeVSV) <>, indicates that
country will grant provisional HF access to all CEPT Class 2 licenses
"sometime in September," pending formal changes.

New Zealand telecommunications authorities plan to remove the requirement
for Morse competency from the General class syllabus as part of the next
round of updates to that country's radiocommunications regulations. The
change is expected to go into effect later this year.

In the US, six unrelated petitioners have requested the FCC to delete the
requirement that applicants pass the 5 WPM Element 1 Morse code test to
gain HF access and make related changes in the Amateur Service rules (Part
97). The FCC has not yet invited public comment on any of these
petitions.--some information from RSGB, No-Code International and Kees
Murre, PA2CHM


The popular and heavily used UO-14 FM satellite has quit working, and some
in the amateur satellite community worry that the venerable easy-sat could
be down for the count. UO-14 (145.975 MHz up, 435.070 MHz down for Mode J)
failed to appear on August 5 over the western Americas, but ground
controller Chris Jackson, G7UPN, later was able to reset the satellite
from the UK.

The reason for that shutdown remains a mystery. "Since the flight computer
is not operating, we have no way of knowing why this event occurred and
can only hope that it is not a sign of more problems to come," Jackson
said at the time. His words turned prophetic a week or so later when UO-14
again failed. It was still not back in operation at week's end.

"It seems that there is a problem with the UO-14 power system--possibly a
battery cell has a fault," Jackson said after the second shutdown. "This
is causing the spacecraft to shut down during some eclipses." Jackson said
since this was shutting down the whole spacecraft, it was impossible to
implement an automatic routine to periodically cycle the transmitter and
keep it on.

Jackson said UO-14 had been changed over to a secondary power system that
does not shut down quite as easily, and he was running UO-14's downlink in
telemetry mode to find clues to the problem on board. One possible fix was
to make the satellite automatically switch its power back on each time it
passes over its Surrey, England, control point.

"UO-14 is getting on toward 14 years and has completed something on the
order of 74,000 charge/discharge cycles of its NiCd batteries--not bad
really," Jackson said. "Let's hope it can manage a few more."

AMSAT-NA Vice President for User Services Bruce Paige, KK5DO--a regular
satellite user--says many UO-14 users have migrated to another FM
satellite, SaudiSat SO-50 (145.800 MHz up, 436.800 MHz down, 67 Hz CTCSS
tone, for Mode J). "It is a bit more difficult to work as you have to have
a 67-Hz PL tone," he said. "The polarity of the satellite changes many
times during a pass." Paige notes that hams nonetheless have had success
with handheld transceivers and very modest antennas. He said SO-50 is
typically on over North America.--AMSAT News Service/AMSAT BB


The Daily DX <> reports that three Amateur Radio
operators were injured in the August 19 bombing of the UN Headquarters at
the former Canal Hotel in Baghdad, Iraq.

The Daily DX Editor Bernie McClenny, W3UR, says he's received word from
Les Nouvelles DX <> Editor Jean-Michel
Duthilleul, F6AJA, that Ghis Penny, ON5NT, was at the UN Headquarters when
the bomb went off. He reportedly suffered a minor head injury and was
evacuated August 21 to Amman, Jordan. Penny expects to be back home in
Belgium in the next few days.

Robert Kasca, S53R, also was working at the UN offices when the explosion
occurred but apparently was not hurt. According to McClenny, Kasca told
Randy Hollier, WX5L, that he plans to continue working in Iraq. Kasca also
said that Michael Dirksen, PA5M (ex-PA5MD), was hospitalized in Germany as
a result of the bombing and was said to be doing well.

The UN has indicated that it would move at least some of its personnel
outside Iraq as a result of the incident. At least 23 people were killed
in the bombing. The dead included widely respected UN envoy Sergio Vieira
de Mello, the UN's high commissioner for refugees who had taken on an
assignment in Iraq.


The FCC has designated the General Mobile Radio Service (GMRS) application
of Richard Allen Burton, ex-WB6JAC, of Harbor City, California, for
hearing. For more than two decades, Burton has had a troubled relationship
with the FCC, which revoked his General-class Amateur Radio station
license and suspended his operator license in 1981 for "willful and
repeated violation" of the Amateur Service rules. Since then, the FCC has
stymied his every effort to return to ham radio.

"Based on the information before us, we believe that Burton's history of
repeated violations of the [Communications] Act and our rules raises a
substantial and material question of fact as to whether he possesses the
requisite character qualifications to be a Commission licensee," the FCC
asserted in a Hearing Designation Order released August 7. Burton filed
his GMRS application in June 2002. GMRS is a general-purpose UHF radio
service that operates under Part 95 of the FCC's rules.

In addition to Burton's 1981 license revocation, the HDO cites his four
separate convictions for alleged unlicensed operation of radio
transmitting equipment. As a result of his most recent conviction in 2000,
Burton spent three months in a federal prison in Texas, received a year's
probation and was ordered to undergo psychological counseling.

In 1996, Burton was briefly successful in becoming relicensed when the FCC
issued him the call sign KF6GKS after he'd passed the Technician
examination. The FCC promptly set aside the grant as soon as it realized
the error.

Burton recently got a Warning Notice from FCC Special Counsel Riley
Hollingsworth citing monitoring information alleging that Burton had
operated on 2 meters "on numerous occasions" in the Los Angeles area since
January. Last year, the FCC warned a Los Angeles-area repeater owner about
allowing Burton to use his repeater.

The hearing will consider Burton's prior record as well as the more recent
allegations. Based on the evidence presented, the FCC will determine
Burton's qualifications to be an FCC licensee and whether to grant his
GMRS application.

The HDO is available on the FCC Web site


The ARRL is accepting nominations for the annual Bill Leonard, W2SKE,
Professional Media Award, a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill
Leonard, W2SKE. The award goes to a professional journalist whose
outstanding coverage in TV, radio, print or multimedia best reflects the
enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio. The
deadline to receive entries is December 5, 2003.

The ARRL Public Relations Committee will review all submissions and make a
recommendation to the Board of Directors at its January 2004 meeting. The
winner receives a plaque and a cash award of $500.

An avid Amateur Radio operator, Leonard was most active on the air during
the 1960s and 1970s. In 1958, an article he wrote for Sports Illustrated,
"The Battle of the Hams," covered the "sport" of DX contesting. To this
day, it remains one of the best Amateur Radio feature stories ever
published. Leonard, who died in 1994, was inducted into the Broadcasting
Hall of Fame in 1996.

Last year's Professional Media Award winner was Assistant News Director
Jill Valley and News Director Greg Schieferstein of KPAX-TV in Missoula,

For more information or to obtain a nomination form and official entry
rules, contact Media Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY,; 860-594-0328.


Solar overlord Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook, K7RA, Seattle,
Washington, reports: Sunspot numbers are down 19 percent, solar flux is
down 7 percent and the planetary A index is up 42 percent: Could it be any
worse for HF operators? Well yes, it could, but those percentages reflect
the change in average daily indices from last week to this week. What
could be worse, of course, are zero sunspots with solar flux around 70 or
lower--which is what we saw about seven years ago at the bottom of the
solar cycle.

The day most disturbed by geomagnetic storms this week was Monday, August
18, when the planetary A index was 86. The planetary K index was 8 during
one three-hour period, 7 during another, and 6 during three other periods.
This indicates a severe geomagnetic storm. The storm began around 0100 UTC
when the interplanetary magnetic field tipped to the south near Earth.
This makes Earth vulnerable to the effects of any solar wind or flare
activity. A solar flare erupted on August 19 at 2005 UTC, and this pushed
a strong coronal mass ejection toward Earth.

The forecast from the US Air Force for planetary A index was adjusted
upward on Thursday, August 21, after the initial one at 2104 UTC. That
earlier one predicted a planetary A index of 30 for Friday, which is quite
high. Six hours and twenty minutes later a new forecast was released that
predicted Friday's planetary A index at 50. Saturday is predicted at 30,
and Sunday, Monday and Tuesday all show the same planetary A index of 25.

Predicted solar flux for Friday, August 22 is 115, and 110 is the value
for Saturday through Tuesday, after which the number is expected to head

Sunspot numbers for August 14 through 20 were 108, 86, 92, 113, 104, 77
and 62, with a mean of 91.7. The 10.7-cm flux was 129.7, 131.4, 126.9,
119.3, 115.9, 116.7 and 111.8, with a mean of 121.7. Estimated planetary A
indices were 18, 14, 11, 15, 86, 21 and 15, with a mean of 25.7.



* This weekend on the radio: The ALARA Contest, the Hawaii QSO and Ohio
QSO parties, the TOEC World Wide Grid Contest (CW), the NRRL 75th
Anniversary Contest and the CQC Summer QSO Party are the weekend of August
23-24. JUST AHEAD: The ALARA Contest, the YO DX HF Contest, the SARL HF CW
Contest and the SCC RTTY Championship are the weekend of August 30-31. 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, August 25, 12:01 AM EDT
(0401 UTC). Registration remains open through Sunday, August 31. Classes
begin Tuesday afternoon, September 2. Registration for the ARRL HF Digital
Communications (EC-005) and VHF/UHF--Life Beyond the Repeater (EC-008)
courses remains open through Sunday, August 24. 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 Web page <> and the C-CE Links found
there. For more information, contact Certification and Continuing
Education Program Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* Spam a result of virus e-mail spoofing, not from ARRL: Spam that appears
to be coming from ARRL Headquarters e-mail addresses is a result of
computer worms capable of e-mail "spoofing" and is not coming from ARRL.
Complaints from the began arriving this week to ARRL Headquarters about
received spam that looked like it had come from ARRL's e-mail system.
Outside of routine correspondence, the ARRL only sends e-mail to its
members who request mailings, such as W1AW bulletins and The ARRL Letter.
ARRL Information Systems Department Manager Don Durand says so-called worm
programs are the culprit. "What happens is that this worm--and many
others--will infect someone's machine," he explained. The worm takes
addresses from the user's personal address book and uses them on the
"From:" line of a piece of e-mail. "The worm will then take the rest of
the personal address book and send notes to everyone in it, varying the
'From:' line as it goes." Durand said the worm programs can use
e-mail addresses it harvests from others' machines to propagate and
replicate itself. The latest SoBig.f variant began circulating August 19.
Durand said ARRL has been receiving dozens of calls from victims of e-mail
spoofing. "It's everywhere," he said of the SoBig worm. "It's not slowing
down." Network Associates has upped its threat rating for SoBig to "high."
NAI has more information on the worm on its Web site

* Kentucky ARES assists in search for missing aircraft: Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) members from Kentucky ARES districts 1 and 2
assisted in efforts to locate a private aircraft that was reported missing
June 14 with two men aboard. Responding to a request from the emergency
manager in Calloway County to Assistant ARES Coordinator Bill Call, KJ4W,
ARES members set up the county's mobile communication trailer at the
Murray Airport to support the search. Amateurs supported the Civil Air
Patrol (CAP) in the search. Attempts to locate the missing plane continued
for several days and eventually involved responders from four states.
Calloway County ARES Coordinator Mark Garland, K4SDI, and ARES District 1
Coordinator Bill Slayman, KY4NU, headed up the ham radio support and
recruited additional amateurs for duty. "We had a full activation in
communications support of the CAP mission and a total of 22 ARES members
participated in various roles," Slayman said. CAP flew some 280 missions.
Watercraft also were involved after debris from the plane was found June
23 in a lake in Tennessee. The Tennessee Emergency Management Agency took
over the incident at that point, and the ARES activation ceased. Calloway
County's Office of Emergency Management extended "heartfelt appreciation"
to ARES members from Calloway and Hopkins County, Garland said. "Their
support filled a gap that otherwise would have delayed operations and cost
in excess of $70,000." The amateurs' effort gained wide media coverage,
including a mention on CNN.--Pat Spencer, KD4PWL/Kentucky Amateur Radio

* 2003 McGan Award nomination deadline looms: The deadline is September 2
to receive nominations for the 2003 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver
Antenna Award, which recognizes significant contributions in the area of
volunteer public relations on behalf of Amateur Radio. The ARRL Board of
Directors voted in July to re-solicit nominations for this year's award
after the Public Relations Committee determined that none of the
nominations submitted adequately fit the award criteria. Those planning to
nominate someone for the 2003 McGan Award are encouraged to read
"Announcing the 12th Annual McGan Award" (QST Feb 2003)
<>. The article
highlights the significant differences between public relations and public
service. Public relations involves efforts specifically directed at
bringing Amateur Radio to the attention of the general public and the news
media in a positive light. Nomination forms are available on the ARRL Web
site <>. Return completed
entry forms and supporting materials to Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver
Antenna Award, c/o Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT
06111. Nominations must be received at ARRL Headquarters by 5 PM Eastern
Daylight Time on September 2, 2003.

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

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of
interest to active amateurs. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely,
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the latest news, updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site
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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
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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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