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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 35
September 5, 2003


* +ARRL emergency communications training grant renewed
* +FCC invites comments on No-Code International Morse petition
* +Amateur Radio contact with astronaut proves educational
* +FCC plans hearing on former ham's fitness to be a licensee
* +Civic project pays big dividends for Oklahoma club
* +Hudson Division Vice Director challenges Director for his seat
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications Course registration
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Oklahoma hams respond following explosion
     Salvation Army's SATERN participating in Indiana flood response
     South Carolina county lauds ARES/RACES
     ARRL president to participate in second N2LEN 9/11 Commemorative Net
     Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS)
<> has renewed funding to subsidize the cost of ARRL
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I training for another year.
The federal grant of nearly $180,000 covers the second year of a
three-year award. The goal of the second-year grant--which runs September
1, 2003, through August 31, 2004--is to provide basic training for about
1700 more Amateur Radio emergency communicators.

"This is a validation of our performance during Year 1 of the grant," said
ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH. As a result of the
first-year grant, ARRL was able to provide emergency communications
training to 1699 volunteers. This year, CNCS will be looking not only at
the course completion rate but also the "outcomes that quantify and
qualify the impact Amateur Radio has on communities nationwide," Hobart

"The true measure of the grant's success will be in how well these
volunteers serve their communities when all else fails," Hobart said. The
second-year grant also places renewed emphasis on recruiting senior
volunteers--those 55 and older.

"In Year 2," she said, "CNCS wants to know how certified hams have become
actively involved in their communities in drills, in practices and in
actual disasters--how they've aided communities when citizens, their homes
and businesses are in harm's way."

Hobart called the success of the Year 1 grant "as much a testament to ARRL
as to the hams who have taken the emergency communications course and who
serve when called upon to do so."

A $150,000 grant from United Technologies (UTC) in large part has gone to
sponsor nationwide Level II <>
and Level III <>
"leadership-level" emergency communications training. The UTC grant is for
three years.

Students who take advantage of the grant-provided emergency communications
training through the ARRL will be reimbursed for the tuition cost once
they have successfully completed the course. Certified volunteers then are
expected to take an active role as part of their local Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) team.

To learn more about the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
courses, 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.


The FCC has invited public comments on another Morse code-related petition
for rule making--this one from No-Code International (NCI)
<>. It's designated RM-10786. When the FCC put six
other Morse-related petitions in the sequence RM-10781 through RM-10787 on
public notice, RM-10786 failed to show up on the FCC's Electronic Comment
Filing System (ECFS) <>. It remained missing
through September 2. NCI calls on the FCC to delete Element 1--the 5 WPM
Morse code exam--"totally" from the Amateur Service rules and grant "Tech
Plus" privileges to current Technicians. It also wants the FCC to act on
the matter as soon as possible, preferably in a separate rule making and
without further ado.

"[T]he Commission clearly has the authority to modify its rules on its own
initiative and without further public notice or comment," NCI asserted in
its 20-page petition.

NCI notes that World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) made
optional the requirement to prove the ability to send and receive Morse
signals to operate below 30 MHz. As a result, "the Commission is no longer
bound to maintain any Morse proficiency requirement." The Morse
requirement, NCI contends, is keeping newcomers away from Amateur Radio.

Comments poured in this week from members of the amateur community on all
seven petitions. Clearly ahead in the comment-collection race is the
petition filed by the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner
Coordinators, RM-10787, which had collected more than 350 comments by
week's end. The other petitions each have garnered more than 100 comments

Interested parties may file comments on any or all petitions now on public
<> by
using the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS)
<>. The ECFS also permits users to view all
comments on file. There is a 30-day comment window.

To file a comment, click on "Submit a Filing" under "ECFS Main Links." In
the "Proceeding" field, type the full RM number, including the hyphen, and
complete the required fields. "RM" must be in capital letters, and you
must include the hyphen between "RM" and the five-digit number. You may
type your remarks into a form or attach a file. ECFS also accepts comments
in active proceedings via e-mail, per instructions on the ECFS page.

To view any comments already submitted for each petition, click on "Search
for Filed Comments" under "ECFS Main Links" and type in the complete RM
number, including the hyphen, in the "Proceeding" field. "RM" must be in
capital letters, and you must include the hyphen between "RM" and the
five-digit number.

Several countries--including Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Germany, Norway
and the Netherlands--already have moved to drop their Morse requirements.
Austria, New Zealand and Australia are expected to do so soon.


Lack of gravity and future human space flight endeavors were among topics
Texas and Colorado youngsters recently explored via ham radio with
astronaut Ed Lu, KC5WKJ. Lu was at the controls of NA1SS aboard the
International Space Station for an August 28 chat with students at
Incarnate Word Academy in Houston, Texas, and a September 3 QSO with
elementary, middle and high schoolers in Boulder, Colorado. Most were
students at Boulder High School, where Lu once was coached wrestling. Both
contacts were arranged via the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) program.

"It feels great!" enthused Lu when a student at Incarnate Word Academy--a
Roman Catholic college preparatory academy for girls--asked how he was
managing in zero gravity. "At this very moment, my feet are not touching
the floor. I'm just floating in the middle of the cabin." Returning to
Earth will be another story altogether.

"All good things do come to an end, and when we come back down to the
ground, gravity is gonna suck us down to the floor," Lu said. He explained
that the effect was less because of muscle atrophy than the fact that the
space traveler's brain and body need a few days to readjust to Earth's

On a lighter note, Lu said the crew does laundry "the way I wish we could
do laundry on the ground--which is, we don't." He said the crew wears
clothing items for a few days and then "we toss 'em away."

Students at the Houston School posed 14 questions to Lu. The control
operator Nick Lance, KC5KBO, thanked Lu and ARISS on behalf of the
students. Members of the Clear Lake Amateur Radio Club (CLARC)
<> set up the equipment for the contact, which
involved a simplex link from the school to the Johnson Space Center's
W5RRR club station 21 miles away.

Nine youngsters--several of them Amateur Radio licensees--participated in
the September 3 QSO from Boulder. One student asked Lu to respond to
criticism that scientific experiments aboard the ISS were redundant and
could be done on Earth. Lu said the research the crew does is not the
primary scientific focus of the ISS.

"The real thing we're doing is learning how to fly in space--meaning
long-duration flights in space," Lu said, "and in that sense, the entire
space station is an experimental vehicle." The ISS will "help us learn the
things that we need to learn to go outward" to the moon again, to
asteroids or to Mars. "That's where we're really going to get scientific
payoff," he said.

Lu told the Boulder students that ISS crews "live by the clock" and not by
whether it's dark or light outside--since the ISS experiences 16 day-night
cycles a day. "When it's time to go to bed,  you go to bed, and when it's
time to wake up, you wake up," he explained.

The Boulder QSO took place from the station of Bill McCaa, K0RZ, who
handled Earth-station duties for a similar contact in 2001. The students
were able to ask 13 questions before the NA1SS signal faded out.

The Expedition 7 crew of Lu and commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, will
return to Earth in October. The crew's round of ARISS contacts is expected
to wrap up by September 20.

ARISS <> is an international program with
participation by ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.


The FCC has warned a former amateur licensee to stop contacting Commission
personnel regarding the disposition of his Amateur Radio application. The
FCC had granted Jack Gerritsen of Bell, California, a Technician license,
KG6IRO, on November 8, 2001. Acting on its own motion six days later, the
Wireless Telecommunications Bureau set aside Gerritsen's license after
learning that he'd been convicted the previous year in state court of
interfering with Los Angeles Police Department radio transmissions. The
FCC also received complaints that Gerritsen had operated without a license
and caused malicious interference on amateur frequencies. Gerritsen's
application reverted to a pending status, and the conviction and complaint
information was referred to the Enforcement Bureau for evaluation.

"The Office of Administrative Law Judges has requested we advise you that
your repeated calls to those offices are in violation of the Commission's
rules against ex parte communications," FCC Special Counsel Riley
Hollingsworth said in an August 14 letter to Gerritsen. "Those rules place
restrictions on contacts with Commission decision-making personnel and
provide sanctions for violations of those rules."

Gerritsen again was arrested in January 2002 after he allegedly made death
threats on Amateur Radio frequencies and violated his parole following his
2000 conviction for interfering with police transmissions. Gerritsen had
served one year of a five-year term, and the FCC alleges that, once out on
parole, he resumed operating and caused deliberate interference to
numerous amateur repeaters in the Los Angeles area.

At the time of arrest, the FCC said, Gerritsen had more than 20
radios--eight of them capable of operating on the amateur, marine, Land
Mobile and Public Safety bands. He had a marine radio hidden in a closet
with batteries connected to it, and a length of antenna line running
outside his residence, the FCC said.

"The terms of the parole prohibited you from possessing radio transmitting
equipment," Hollingsworth noted in his August 14 letter. In May 2002,
Gerritsen was sentenced to three years in prison--with credit for good
behavior, work time and time already served--but he was released early due
to jail overcrowding, Hollingsworth told ARRL.

Now, Gerritsen faces a hearing to determine if he's qualified to hold a
Commission license. Hollingsworth said that in due course, the FCC will
issue a Hearing Designation Order setting forth the details of the
proceeding, but he admonished patience on Gerritsen's part.

"Neither repeated calls to specific Commission employees nor calls to
Commission employees at random will expedite this process," Hollingsworth
said, adding that issues related to possible violations of FCC ex parte
rules could come up at the hearing.


An Oklahoma ham radio club's initiative has paid off by helping the
community and enhancing public recognition for Amateur Radio. Chuck
Kanach, KC5EZS, who's vice president of the Choctaw Amateur Radio Club
<>, says his club proposed last year to locate
the precise position of storm shelters in the tornado-prone community to
enable them to be found later--after a storm. CARC, an ARRL-affiliated
club, got the okay this summer.

Members used their own GPS units and kept in touch via ham radio and
cellphone as they used an initial list of 137 addresses from the city to
track down, pinpoint and inventory the exact location of each storm
cellar. Before they finished, the list had grown by another two dozen.

"We worked in teams of two and were able to locate 154 of these shelters
within a six-week period," said Kanach, who headed up the project
<>. When the club finally turned over
its list, Fire Chief Loren Bumgarner handed the club another dozen to

"We have also been asked to locate storm shelters for neighboring cities,
Kanach said. "It looks like we will be staying busy for a while."

The success of the project--and ham radio's contribution in the aftermath
of last May's tornadoes in Oklahoma--has encouraged municipal officials to
take ham radio more seriously as an emergency resource, Kanach said.

"I am now on first-name basis with our city's emergency coordinator,"
Kanach said. "He knows that we have people in our club concerned about our
city and our people. He also knows the type of services we could provide."

Kanach believes part of the reason for the project's success--which got
local media coverage--was not waiting for the city to ask but taking the
initiative to propose the project first. "The City of Choctaw and everyone
we came in contact with now knows about the Choctaw Amateur Radio Club,"
he said.


The only contested seat in the current election cycle for ARRL directors
and vice directors is in the Hudson Division. Incumbent Director Frank
Fallon, N2FF, will face a challenge from current Vice Director and former
Director Steve Mendelsohn, W2ML. Ballots will go out no later than October
1 to all full League members in the division who are in good standing as
of September 10. The current election cycle includes the Central, Hudson,
New England, Northwestern and Roanoke divisions.

"The Election Committee has completed its review of nomination petitions
and candidates' questionnaires for this year's elections for Director and
Vice Director," said ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his capacity as ARRL
Board secretary. "In all uncontested elections the single eligible
candidate has been declared elected or re-elected."

Challenger Mendelsohn--an ARRL Life Member--was elected to his first term
as Hudson Division Vice Director in 1982 and became Director in 1987. The
ARRL Board of Directors elected him ARRL First Vice President in 1994.
Nominated for ARRL President at the Board's January 2000 meeting,
Mendelsohn was defeated for the top job by Jim Haynie, W5JBP, on a nine to
six vote. Later that year, he outpolled incumbent JP Kleinhaus, W2XX, to
return to the Hudson Division's second slot.

Incumbent Fallon has served as director since 1997, when he took over the
seat by defeating Richard Sandell, WK6R. A retired high school English
teacher and a ham for 41 years, he's an ARRL Life Member. As Hudson
Division Director, he's served on all standing committees, has been an
elected member of the ARRL Executive Committee for four years and serves
on the ARRL Foundation Board and on the Administration and Finance
Committee, which oversees the League's programs and budget.

The lone candidate for the vice director's seat that Mendelsohn is
vacating--Joyce Birmingham, KA2ANF--has been declared elected. A ham since
1979, Birmingham holds an Extra class ticket. She's vice president of the
10-70 Repeater Association in New Jersey and enjoys chasing DX. She's also
a volunteer examiner.

Incumbents running unopposed and also declared elected are: Director Dick
Isely, W9GIG, and Vice Director Howard Huntington, K9KM, in the Central
Division; Director Tom Frenaye, K1KI, and Vice Director Mike Raisbeck,
K1TWF, in the New England Division; Director Greg Milnes, W7OZ, and Vice
Director Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, in the Northwestern Division; and
Director Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, and Vice Director Les Shattuck, K4NK, in
the Roanoke Division.

A petition from former South Carolina Section Manager Patricia Hensley,
N4ROS, for the Roanoke Division's vice director slot was deemed invalid
because it did not contain enough ARRL member signatures.

Ballots in the contested race must be received at ARRL Headquarters by
noon Eastern Time on Friday, November 21. The vote will be tallied and the
election result announced later that day. Three-year terms of office for
successful director and vice director candidates begin at noon on January
1, 2004.


Heliophile Tad "Don't Let the Sun Go Down on Me" Cook, K7RA, Seattle,
Washington, reports: Daily sunspot numbers were lower this week than last,
and solar flux remained about the same, but the average daily planetary A
index dropped by more than half to 14.3. That's the lowest it's been since
the reporting week of July 3-9, 2003.

The forecast for the next few days is for unsettled to active geomagnetic
conditions, with the predicted planetary A index for Friday through
Monday, September 5-8, at 20, 12, 12 and 15. Predicted solar flux for
Friday and Saturday is 115 and 120, then 125 for Sunday through Friday,
September 12.

Sunspot numbers for August 28 through September 3 were 146, 132, 120, 101,
59, 90 and 74, with a mean of 103.1. The 10.7-cm flux was 118.7, 116.3,
114, 109.7, 108.1, 105.7 and 110.5, with a mean of 118.9. Estimated
planetary A indices were 18, 15, 17, 7, 14, 12 and 17, with a mean of



* This weekend on the radio: The North American Sprint (CW), the All Asian
DX Contest (SSB), the Quick PSK63 Contest, the IARU Region 1 Field Day
(SSB) and the DARC 10-Meter Digital Contest are the weekend of September
6-7. JUST AHEAD: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party, the North American
Sprint (SSB), the FISTS Coast to Coast Contest, YLRL Howdy Days, the
Worked All Europe (WAE) DX Contest (SSB), the Louisiana and Tennessee QSO
parties, and the QRP ARCI End of Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of
September 13-14. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications Course registration: Registration opens
Monday, September 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC), for the
Level II Emergency Communications on-line course (EC-002). Registration
remains open through the September 13-14 weekend or until all seats are
filled--whichever occurs first. Class begins Tuesday, September 23. 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,
September 8, 12:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC). Registration will
remain open through Sunday, September 14. Class begins Tuesday afternoon,
September 16. 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 by sending 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,

* Correction: The story "BPL Places FCC at Regulatory Crossroad, AMRAD
Suggests" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 34 (Aug 29, 2003) contained
incorrect information. It should have said: "Ironically, the HomePlug
standard substantially notches out the amateur bands--something ARRL
convinced the HomePlug Powerline Alliance to do after amateur complaints
sparked a recall of non-HomePlug-standard carrier-current devices that had
operated near 3.5 MHz. The new 60-meter band is not notched out, however."
A spokesperson for HomePlug Powerline Alliance notes that HomePlug had
worked with ARRL long before any HomePlug products were on the market.

* Oklahoma hams respond following explosion: Amateurs in the Tulsa area
responded promptly August 18 after an explosion at an Airgas gas
distribution facility sparked fires and evacuations. According to news
reports, multiple explosions rocked the near-downtown neighborhood, and an
evacuation order was issued for an area one mile in diameter around the
site. Interstate 244 also was shut down. Amateur Radio volunteers Mark
Duensing, KD5DLL, and Joe Iverson, KD5KKZ, reported to the Tulsa Area
Emergency Management Agency's (TAEMA) emergency operation center to
provide non-emergency and back-up communication if needed. Craig Roszel,
KC5TFI, who lives near the explosion site, responded to the TAEMA mobile
command post, which TAEMA has equipped with Amateur Radio gear for such
emergencies. "We heard the first blast and could see the fire over the
house," said Roszel, who promptly sent his family to safety then checked
in with the EOC. Amateurs were on the air within a few minutes of the
blast. No major injuries or fatalities were reported. Amateurs were
released from duty within about five hours, after the Tulsa Fire
Department gained control of the fires.--Mark Conklin, N7XYO.

* Salvation Army's SATERN participates in Indiana flood response:
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) members this week
supported The Salvation Army's response in central Indiana after
torrential rains caused widespread flooding. "For the second time this
year the streets of Marion and Hendricks counties were flooded as water
flowed in from every direction," said SATERN National Coordinator Pat
McPherson, WW9E. McPherson said Peggy McNary, N9QT, and her SATERN team
from Central Indiana were supporting the operation with Amateur Radio
communication. He reports that since September 1, The Salvation Army has
served nearly 1000 meals to flood-affected residents and National Guard
troops assisting in the relief work. The Salvation Army also has been
providing shelter for displaced residents and distributing clean-up kits.
Three Salvation Army canteens are serving meals throughout the
Indianapolis area.

* South Carolina county lauds ARES/RACES: The Aiken, South Carolina,
County Council has expressed its appreciation to area Amateur Radio
Emergency Service and Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (ARES/RACES)
volunteers for their "invaluable assistance" during a communications
emergency June 16. In a resolution adopted at the council's August 19
meeting, the hams were praised for responding after a lightning strike
took out communications and ambulance dispatch facilities at the sheriff's
office. "A net of volunteers from ARES/RACES was established on one of the
Aiken repeaters," the resolution explains. Hams were assigned to each
remote ambulance location, and amateur volunteers equipped with handhelds
traveled with the ambulances during calls and worked from emergency
medical service substations and offices during the radio emergency. Other
hams acted as net controllers and as relays when the ambulances got
outside the coverage area of the local repeater. "Without the assistance
of the ARES/RACES, the communications center would have been unable to
dispatch ambulances, thereby jeopardizing the lives of many Aiken County
citizens," the resolution said. "County Council desires to express its
appreciation to the ham radio operators who 'stepped up to the plate' in a
crisis situation."--Jim Boehner, N2ZZ

* ARRL president to participate in second N2LEN 9/11 Commemorative Net:
ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, will participate in the second N2LEN
9/11 Commemorative Net on September 11. Haynie said he will talk about the
role of Amateur Radio in homeland security and urge each amateur to
develop skills in emergency communications and to be prepared. The net
will involve linking repeaters across the US and around the world via the
Internet. Haynie addressed a first-anniversary hookup last year to thank
all amateurs who volunteered in the aftermath of the September 11
terrorist attacks. The linkup relied on EchoLink and eQSO Internet
software connections as well as repeaters and simplex links around the
world. Len Signoretti, N2LEN, says improvements over the past year have
made communication even easier and more reliable, and he hopes the
second-anniversary net will be an even greater success. The main EchoLink
net servers will open at 6 AM EDT on September 11, and the directed net
will start at 7 PM EDT. All EchoLink, IRLP and eQSO servers are invited to
join. For more information, contact Signoretti <>; or visit
the 911 Net Web site <>.

* Vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST Cover Plaque Award
for August was Mike Loukides, W1JQ, for his article "A Dipole Curtain for
15 and 10 Meters." Congratulations, Mike! 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 article in the September issue of QST. Voting ends September 30.

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

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

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

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

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

Much of the ARRL Letter content is also available in audio form in ARRL Audio News.

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

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