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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 39
October 3, 2003


* +"Logbook of the World" off like a rocket
* +Round 1 of Morse petition comments ends
* +Japanese students enjoy last scheduled ARISS QSO with Expedition 7
* +Future funding uncertain for Space Environment Center
* +Ham radio Hurricane Isabel support winds down
* +Young ham wins DXpedition trip
* +W1ZR joins ARRL Headquarters team
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     ARRL hosts workshop for new section managers

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Logbook of the World" (LoTW) <>--the League's new
QSL-cardless awards and contact credit system--has proven to be a huge hit
with the amateur community. Since opening September 15, LoTW has acquired
more than 2200 registered participants. Another 2400 or so applications
are pending, and the QSO database of 4900 uploaded logs had topped 8
million contacts at week's end.

"Certainly the number of Qs that we've gotten is well above what we
expected at this point," said ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne
Mills, N7NG, who has been sharing duties with Assistant to the CEO David
Patton, NN1N, as point man for LoTW. ARRL Web and Software Development
Department Manager Jon Bloom, KE3Z, has been handling software development
and updating for LoTW.

LoTW is open to all, and applying for a digital certificate is the first
step toward taking advantage of the system. The digital certificate
authenticates the user's identity.

ARRL will maintain the ballooning repository of log data from casual
operators, DXers, contesters and major DXpeditions. LoTW will be able to
provide quick QSO credit for awards programs by identifying contact
matches within submitted log data. There have been 51,000 such matches to
date. Registered participants then will be able to apply LoTW-confirmed
QSO credits toward ARRL awards, such as DXCC, WAS and VUCC.

Work continues on the last major LoTW component--the Web pages to apply
LoTW confirmations toward ARRL-sponsored awards. Mills expects that LoTW
also will one day provide contact credits for non-ARRL programs. "Major
award sponsors have expressed interest in using LoTW records, and details
are pending," he said.

The key to the ultimate success of LoTW is for users to upload as much log
data as possible. The more contacts in the database, the better the
chances of a QSO match.

LoTW eventually will be able to search users' DXCC records and find new
credits automatically. The program also will provide full viewing of
users' DXCC records, automatically alert users to new awards achieved and
offer comprehensive support for many other awards.

Mills cautioned new users that LoTW permits just one digital certificate
request per call sign. He advised that once users apply for a certificate,
they should not attempt to alter it or create another request. Any errors,
he points out, can be corrected later. For US users, the first certificate
has to be for a current call sign that's in the FCC database. After you
get the certificate, you can request additional certificates for formerly
held call signs.

While the digital certificate is free, LoTW will charge on a per-credit
basis to apply credits toward awards. "Logbook of the World is an
alternative to collecting QSL cards by mail," Mills said. Fees
<> range from 25 cents for a single credit to
15 cents per credit in lots of 500. Users may purchase credits in advance,
but LoTW fees do not also cover award fees.

"It turns out that this is a much cheaper way to collect credits for
DXCC," Mills asserted. "Overall, we are very happy with the progress and
user acceptance."

This week, EchoLink <> announced that it would
accept ARRL's LoTW's digital certificates to authenticate new users as an
alternative to providing a copy of their amateur license.

News and announcements will be posted to the Logbook of the World Web site


Although the bell has sounded ending Round 1 of the comment period on the
initial seven Morse code-related petitions for rulemaking, members of the
Amateur Radio community continue to post their opinions. Some of the
petitions called for altogether eliminating Element 1, the 5 WPM Morse
test, from the Amateur Service rules (Part 97). The FCC recorded a total
of nearly 2300 comments on the petitions, although the number of
commenters is likely much smaller since many individuals commented on more
than one petition. While some were content to express a brief comment pro
or con, a few put forth recommendations that were nearly petitions in
themselves. The tenor of many comments reflected the fact that Morse code
remains an emotional issue.

"The CW issue, as expected, is a very gut-wrenching issue for many hams,"
ARRL Great Lakes Director Jim Weaver, K8JE, observed recently. "Sometimes
we mortals let issues to which we have emotional ties get out of

The ARRL did not comment on any of the seven initial petitions for rule
making and has no plans to comment on any future such petitions. ARRL
Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, explained that there's no
particular urgency to the issue and ample reason for the League to devote
its attention to issues having more immediacy such as the Broadband over
Power Line (BPL) threat.

"There have been numerous proposals submitted to the FCC with regard to
amateur licensing qualifications and privileges," Sumner said. "No doubt
there will be more. There is no need for the ARRL to react to each and
every one."

The Petition for Rule Making filed by the National Conference of Volunteer
Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC), designated RM-10787, attracted the most
attention, logging more than 600 comments. The NCVEC reported the tally on
its proposals was 56 percent in favor of dropping Element 1 and 43 percent
opposed, with 1 percent of the comments either undecipherable or taking no

Other Morse-related petitions were filed by Peter M. Beauregard, KI1I,
Pete V. Coppola, KG4QDZ, and family, Tina Coppola, KG4YUM, and Pete A.
Coppola, KG4QDY, Kiernan K. Holliday, WA6BJH, Dale Reich, K8AD, Eric Ward,
N0HHS, and No-Code International <>.

The FCC has yet to put another five Morse code-related petitions for
rulemaking on public notice and invite comments. Sumner predicted it would
be "months, if not longer" before the FCC takes any action on any of the
petitions. In the meantime, he said, "there is plenty of time for the ARRL
to receive considered input from its members and either to formulate a
reasoned proposal for change or a rationale for maintaining the status

At its January 2001 meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors reaffirmed the
League's position to retain the Morse code examination requirement for HF
access. World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) left it up to
individual countries to decide whether or not they want a Morse
requirement for HF privileges.

In the wake of WRC-03, the ARRL Executive Committee has been working on
its own comprehensive Amateur Radio licensing proposal, of which the Morse
requirement would be a part. Once completed, the proposal will go to the
ARRL Board of Directors for consideration and possible action at its
January 2004 meeting.

"There is simply no urgency to address it any sooner than that," Sumner

The most recent countries to summarily drop the Morse requirement are
Ireland, Singapore and Luxembourg. Switzerland, Belgium, the UK, Germany,
Norway, the Netherlands, Austria, New Zealand and Australia also have
moved to drop their Morse requirements or are expected to do so this year.


An Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) QSO September
20 with youngsters at Kagawa Junior High School in Ube City, Japan, was
the last scheduled ARISS school group contact for the current crew. Now
that Expedition 7 Commander Yuri Malenchenko, RK3DUP, and NASA ISS Science
Officer Ed Lu, KC5WKJ, are nearing the end of their duty tour aboard the
ISS, school group contacts are on hold until the next crew arrives. Lu was
at the controls of NA1SS for the direct 2-meter contact with 8N4ISS in
Japan. Responding to the now almost inevitable "food question," Lu told
the youngsters there's a "pretty decent selection" of food onboard the
ISS, but . . .

"That being said, it has been five months up here and I am looking forward
to some different kinds of food when I get back down to the ground," he
conceded. Lu expressed mixed feelings about his life in space as compared
with life on Earth. He told the students that while he missed his friends
and family on Earth, "up here it's a very special place."

One student wanted to know if the astronauts could use fire in space.

"Well, it's not something we typically use up here," Lu responded, but he
went on to say that the ISS is equipped with solid-fuel oxygen generators
that are burned to produce oxygen.

"That is an emergency means of producing oxygen if our normal
oxygen-generating systems all fail--as a last resort," he said. Lu said
the devices also are used on submarines, but they are not normally used
aboard the ISS.

Thirteen students at the Japanese school got in more than a dozen
questions during the pass, which ran just under ten minutes before the ISS
went out of range. Handling Earth-station duties at 8N4ISS was Hisao
Emoto, JG4OHX. An audience of approximately 150 and several news media
representatives were on hand for the occasion.

ARISS <> is an international project with support
from ARRL, NASA and AMSAT.--Some information provided by Satoshi Yasuda.


With final action pending by the US House and Senate on a Fiscal Year 2004
appropriations bill, the fate of the Space Environment Center (SEC)
<> in Boulder, Colorado, hangs in the balance. The
FY 2004 Senate appropriations bill has eliminated funds for the SEC and
for all space weather-related activities in the center's parent agency,
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The House
version of the appropriations bill holds the center's funding at $5.2
million. The White House requested $8.3 million for the SEC. Seattle-based
ARRL propagation bulletin editor Tad Cook, K7RA, says the possible loss of
SEC's funding has him very concerned.

"The NOAA SEC provides all of the data for our weekly propagation bulletin
<>," Cook said. "It is SEC staff that
prepares the forecasts that I rely on when I tell readers what the
geomagnetic and solar indices will be during a given forecast period."
Cook encourages ARRL members to contact their senators and representatives
in Congress <>, urging
them to restore the SEC's funding.

The Space Environment Center provides real-time monitoring and forecasting
of solar and geophysical events (see the Space Weather Now Web site
<>). Those include solar flares and
geomagnetic disturbances that can affect radio wave propagation. The SEC
Radio User's Page <> includes data and
information specific to the current state of the ionosphere. The center
also conducts research in solar-terrestrial physics and develops
techniques to forecast solar and geophysical disturbances.

With the US Air Force, the SEC also operates the Space Weather Operations
Center <>, which serves as
the national and world warning center for disturbances that can affect
people and equipment--such as astronauts and communications
satellites--working in the space environment.

"It is the government's official source for alerts and warnings of
disturbances," Center Director Ernest Hildner explained in a recent
posting to SEC clients.

A Senate Appropriations Committee Report included a terse explanation on
funding cut. "The 'Atmospheric' in NOAA does not extend to the astral,"
the report said. "Absolutely no funds are provided for solar observation.
Such activities are rightly the bailiwick of the National Aeronautics and
Space Administration and the Air Force."

The Department of Defense, NASA and the Federal Aviation Administration
are among the SEC's customers, which also include the airlines, electric
power grid operators, communications facilities, satellite operators, the
National Space Weather Program and commercial providers of value-added
space weather services.

Hildner said that unless the SEC's appropriation level is increased in a
House-Senate conference committee, the most optimistic outlook is that the
SEC will shrink to less than half its capability--the House funding
level--or go away altogether under the Senate bill.

"In this case," he concluded, "the nation's space weather service will
have to be reconstituted in some other agency, at greater cost and lesser
capability, to meet the nation's needs."


Hurricane Isabel is long gone, but its effects linger in the US Southeast,
especially in North Carolina. Amateur Radio activities supporting the
storm response, relief and recovery have wound down for the most part, but
one disaster relief professional has suggested an additional role for
Amateur Radio in these kinds of disasters. In North Carolina, joint
Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN)-Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) support for The Salvation Army's relief efforts
in the Morehead City area ended September 30. Well over a dozen ham radio
volunteers participated. Carteret County Emergency Coordinator Rich
Wright, KR4NU, said his ARES/RACES team helped in areas where ham radio
provided the only reliable communication.

"Absolutely no communications available except ham radio," is how Wright
described one especially hard-hit area of Carteret County. Wright and his
ARES-RACES team stepped in late last week after Salvation Army mobile
kitchens from New York needed communication support. Amateurs also were
able to assist at several other sites in the region as well as at the
command center in Morehead City.

Jay Wilson, W0AIR <>;--a Federal Emergency Management
Agency (FEMA) director from Colorado--was among the disaster-relief
professionals working in North Carolina in Isabel's aftermath. Wilson
suggested that Amateur Radio operators could play an important role in
post-disaster relief that goes beyond providing communication support to
relief agencies.

"Right now, if hams did nothing else, just driving back roads and stopping
to talk with people would mean more than you can imagine," he said this
week. "Just helping to spread the word about where canteens are, and where
the FEMA/state application trailers are would help tremendously."

Wilson, who toured Tyrrell, Hyde and Dare counties, reported many were
still without power, telephone service and drinkable water. He says he saw
clusters of homes that had been flattened and people living in their cars.

"One older woman told me that she and her son had been living on swamp
critters and drinking ditch water for a week," Wilson related. "The lady
did not know that Salvation Army had a canteen about five miles from her
house and that they would get food delivered to anyone who couldn't come
to them." He and his team subsequently asked The Salvation Army volunteers
to put the family at the top of their list.

In another area, Wilson said, his team kept a FEMA trailer open after
realizing that residents just a couple of miles away were unaware that
outside aid had been sent.

A FEMA HAZMAT officer, Wilson is executive director of Disaster
Preparedness-Emergency Response Association (DERA)
<>, a nonprofit international
service organization and an ARRL-affiliated club. He was among five
amateurs--also disaster professionals--working at the FEMA/state disaster
field office (DFO) in Raleigh, where he served as emergency services
branch chief. The team was expected to remain there until week's end.

Wilson said the team made extensive use of EchoLink via the DERA-provided
N3DAK portable repeater. The 20-meter SATERN Net (14.265 MHz) provided HF
liaison for travel into the primary disaster area.

"Strange, isn't it?" Wilson asked rhetorically. "The emergency is over and
now the real suffering begins just as the outside world loses interest."

Chesapeake Amateur Radio Service President Ruth Bigio, KB4LIF, reports
that more than 30 hams responded to an activation in Virginia's Tidewater
Area that lasted 12 days. "Hams took HF reports and passed traffic up to
the state EOC and worked the Hurricane Watch Net <> from
their homes, while others worked UHF/VHF," she said. "SKYWARN reports from
all over Tidewater poured into our EOC and were passed on to Wakefield
NWS." Tidewater Area hams also supported communication at more than a
dozen shelters, provided damage assessments and assisted in clearing
roadways. Bigio says ARES members later helped The Salvation Army and
American Red Cross relief efforts.--some information provided via Bob
Dockery, WD4CNZ


Fourteen-year-old Daniel Bradke, W2AU, of Niskayuna, New York, will
operate as part of the VP5X Contest Group for the CQ World Wide CW contest
November 29-30. Bradke was the winner of a competition sponsored by the
VP5X Contest Group, headed by David Kopacz, KY1V.

"Daniel's essay, operating skills and enthusiasm have moved our contest
team to select him to be our first annual VP5X Young Ham Team Member,"
said an announcement on the VP5X Contest Group Web site
<>. That means an all expenses-paid trip for the
contest DXpedition.

An Amateur Extra class licensee since age 11, Bradke can handle CW at 30
WPM. He's a member of the ARRL, the Yankee Clipper Contest Club
<> and FISTS <> and regularly
operates during the ARRL Straight Key Night each New Year's Day (UTC).

The trip to Turks and Caicos will mark his first DXpedition.

His dad, John Bradke, W2GB, says he urged his son apply for the call sign
that had once belonged to Paul Wandelt of W2AU balun and antenna fame
(Unadilla Radiation Products). The elder Bradke says he met Wandelt a few
times in the 1960s and never dreamed he'd have a son who would one day
hold the well-known call sign.

There's more information on Daniel Bradke under his call sign listing on
the Web site <>.


Joel Hallas, W1ZR, has joined the ARRL staff as an assistant technical
editor. Hallas' primary responsibility is to oversee the process of
reviewing new Amateur Radio equipment and to edit the "Product Review"
column in QST. Hallas, 61, also serves as managing editor for NCJ
<> and as a member of the team that reviews technical
articles submitted for QST publication. He arrived at ARRL Headquarters in

"I've always wanted to be able to work here at Headquarters," Hallas said.
"It's really important to keep QST readers informed about the current
array of equipment available, to let them know what's out there and
provide meaningful information to help them in the selection process."

Hallas spent his early years in Garden City, New York, where he was first
introduced to Amateur Radio at age 11. It all began after he traded his
favorite cap pistol for a friend's crystal set. "I could hear a neighbor,
Bob Griffith, W2ZUC, a couple blocks away coming through on 20 meter AM,"
Hallas recalled. "I went and saw his station, and then built a little
one-tube regenerative receiver. He got his Novice ticket in 1954.

Hallas is a US Army veteran (he once operated as DL5HC while stationed in
Germany in the mid-1960s) and he holds degrees in electrical engineering.
He enjoys CW, collecting and operating vintage ham gear, PSK31 and marine
mobile while onboard his sailboat. He and his wife Nancy, W1NCY, live in
Westport, Connecticut.


Ra the sun god Tad "I'll Follow the Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: This has been a good week for HF propagation. Not only have we
moved into fall with its associated good HF propagation around the
equinox, but this week also saw rising sunspot and solar flux values
coupled with quieter geomagnetic conditions.

Average daily sunspot numbers rose from the week previous by 33 points to
125. The average daily solar flux for the week was nearly 15 points higher
at 133.6. Excepting the first day of the reporting week, when the
planetary A index was 28, these numbers settled down to average only
12--nearly 15 points lower than the previous week. The quietest days were
Sunday through Tuesday, September 28-30. Even at high latitudes,
conditions were stable, with Alaska's college A index at four on two of
the days.

We are now within a solar wind, but it is moderate and probably won't
cause any upset, at least for the next few days. Predicted planetary A
index for Friday through Sunday, October 3-5, is 12, 10 and 10. On Monday
it could rise to 15, then higher numbers are predicted, a planetary A
index of 20 for October 7-8. Solar flux is expected around 120-125 over
the next week.

Sunspot numbers for September 25 through October 1 were 122, 127, 137,
139, 108, 116 and 126, with a mean of 125. The 10.7-cm flux was 132.6,
131.1, 129.7, 137, 135.1, 133 and 136.8, with a mean of 133.6. Estimated
planetary A indices were 28, 17, 9, 6, 7, 7 and 10, with a mean of 12.



* This weekend on the radio: The California QSO Party, the SARL 80-Meter
QSO Party, the TARA PSK31 Rumble, the Oceania DX Contest (SSB), the EU
Autumn Sprint (SSB), the QCWA QSO Party and the RSGB 21/28 MHz Contest
(SSB) are the weekend of October 4-5. JUST AHEAD: The YLRL Anniversary
Party (CW) is October 8-10. The North American Sprint (RTTY), 10-10 Day
Sprint, Oceania DX Contest (CW), Autumn Sprint (CW), Pennsylvania QSO
Party, FISTS Fall Sprint, Iberoamericano Contest are the weekend of
October 11-12. The YLRL Anniversary Party (SSB) is October 15-17. See the
ARRL Contest Branch page <> and the WA7BNM
Contest Calendar <> for
more info.

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Registration opens
Monday, October 6, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC), for the on-line Level I
Emergency Communications course (EC-001). Registration remains open
through the October 11-12 weekend or until all available seats have been
filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, October 21. Thanks to
our grant sponsors--the Corporation for National and Community Service and
the United Technologies Corporation--the $45 registration fee paid upon
enrollment will be reimbursed after successful completion of the course.
During this registration period, approximately 175 seats are being offered
to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis. Senior amateurs are
strongly encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. 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 Emergency Communications
Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, <>;; 860-594-0340.

* ARRL hosts workshop for new section managers: Fifteen new or incoming
ARRL Section Managers, one Vice Director and one Vice Director-elect
visited ARRL Headquarters September 5-7 for a Section Manager training
workshop. The session offered a chance for SMs to become better acquainted
with ARRL programs and services, share ideas, explore common problems and
seek solutions and learn more about their responsibilities as ARRL Field
Organization leaders. "The SMs are truly the backbone of the ARRL Field
Organization," said Hudson Division Vice Director-elect Joyce Birmingham,
KA2ANF, who sat in on this year's workshop. "I salute them!" ARRL Field
Organization/Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, led discussions
on a variety of topics as well as an open forum, and several ARRL staffers
shared duties describing their particular programs and activities. Some
individuals with prior SM experience also participated in the weekend
event. San Joaquin Valley SM Charles McConnell, W6DPD, had served
approximately 15 years as a section leader before returning as SM in July
2002. Pacific SM Bob Schneider, AH6J, who took over the reins there in
April 2002, was Pacific SM from 1992 until 1996, and Illinois SM Shari
Harlan, N9SH, returned to office in July 2002 after having served from
1990 to 1994. None of the three had ever attended a workshop before,
however. McConnell, Schneider and Harlan--along with Eastern Massachusetts
SM Phil Temples, K9HI, and New England Vice Director Mike Raisbeck--were
able to augment the discussions with their perspectives and experiences.
For West Texas SM John Dyer, AE5B, getting a chance to make his first
contact from W1AW--the "mother ship station," as he called it--was the
thrill of a lifetime and a big surprise. He managed to hook up with former
West Texas SM Clay Emert, K5TRW, now a West Texas Assistant SM. "Against
all odds and totally unplanned, Clay and I each had a 'first,'" Dyer
remarked afterward. "Life is good, and ham radio is fun!"

* Corrections: In "Court kicks New York ham's "police radio" case" in The
ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 36 (Sep 12, 2003), the call sign of attorney Susan
Terry was incorrect. It is KG4SUE. In "W1AW 160-meter transmission to QSY
slightly," in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 37 (Sep 19, 2003), we reported
that W1AW would shift its 160-meter bulletin frequency from 1818 kHz to
1817.5 kHz starting September 29. This change affects only the CW bulletin
and code practice transmissions. W1AW's 160-meter phone bulletins continue
to be on 1855 kHz. In "Red Cross Unit Compliments Amateur Radio Assistance
During Isabel," in The ARRL Letter, Vol 22, No 38 (Sep 26, 2003), we
incorrectly characterized the number of field canteens the Salvation Army
was operating in North Carolina during its Hurricane Isabel relief
efforts. Salvation Army Team Emergency Network (SATERN) Greater New York
City Liaison Jeff Schneller, N2HPO, said The Salvation Army was operating
"many canteens" and various Salvation Army sites at the time of our story.

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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==>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.

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