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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 23, No. 19
May 7, 2004


* +ARRL asks FCC to put BPL proceeding on hold
* +Some amateur rule changes go into effect June 1
* +Thirteen-year-old Tennessee ham aids rescue attempt
* +Murder conviction costs Texas amateur his license
* +Compromise antenna bills pass Hawaii State Legislature
* +Hamvention to hold joint awards presentation, prize drawing
* +Logbook of the World renews DXCC enthusiasm
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     ARRL Emergency Communications course registration
     Promote ARRL's 90th anniversary, your club and Amateur Radio!
     ARRL McGan Award deadline looms
     Armed Forces Day ham-military event set for May 8
     Historic Westcott House ham radio special event
     Kenya simplifies amateur licensing requirements

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The ARRL has asked the FCC to put its BPL proceeding on hold to allow more
thorough research of BPL's interference potential to licensed radio
services. Among other things, the ARRL wants to more closely review the
lengthy National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)
Part 1 BPL study released April 27. In comments filed May 3 in response to
the FCC's February 23 BPL Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) in ET
Docket 03-47, the League also called on the FCC to apply "considerably
more conservative radiated emission limits" to BPL than those applying to
"normal" Part 15 devices. Five technical exhibits, including an
ARRL-commissioned independent study at BPL trial areas and additional
research, accompanied the League's comments.

"The Commission cannot be in such a hurry to deploy BPL . . . that it must
sweep under the rug the mounting evidence that BPL is a significant source
of interference to licensed radio services and is not in the public
interest," the ARRL declared.

The League also took the FCC to task for its willingness to balance BPL's
presumed benefits against the potential of harmful interference. "The
principal obligation of the Commission in permitting unlicensed devices or
systems is to establish a radiated emission level that is sufficiently low
that by their operation they will predictably not interfere with licensed
radio services," the ARRL emphasized.

The ARRL told the FCC that applying existing radiated emission limits to
so-called "access BPL" systems is inappropriate. "Those levels are far too
high and were designed to address the interference of point-source
radiators," the League said. "It is obvious that access BPL systems are
distributive, line-source radiators" and the FCC should apply a limit low
enough to prevent interference to mobile stations that might operate in
BPL-served neighborhoods. The ARRL suggested that 0 dBuV/m at the antenna
measured at 10 meters (approximately 33 feet) from the power line would be
an "acceptable" radiated emission level.

The League further proposed amending Part 15 rules (§15.109) to require
BPL systems to incorporate adaptive interference resolution techniques
adequate to cause them to cease operation within an hour following a
report of harmful interference to an FCC licensee's station. The BPL
system then couldn't resume operation within one kilometer (approximately
0.62 mile) of the complainant's station "unless and until the harmful
interference is resolved." The ARRL also would require BPL systems to
supply detailed information on their systems to a public Web-based

The FCC's NPRM offers no support for its conclusion that interference to
licensed services would be minimal, the ARRL said, and it noted that
amateur licensees have filed more than two dozen BPL interference
complaints with the FCC.

"Some of these interference problems have persisted, notwithstanding the
good faith efforts of some BPL service providers to resolve the problems,"
the ARRL noted. "In other cases, the complaints are simply ignored. None
has been adjudicated by the Commission, as far as the ARRL can tell."
Instead, the League said, amateurs' BPL complaints "remain under wraps" in
the Office of Engineering and Technology instead of being handled by the
FCC's Enforcement Bureau, which typically deals with power line noise
complaints from radio amateurs.

"Mere mitigation" of interference is not sufficient, the ARRL said. "It is
the absolute obligation of the operator of a Part 15 device or system to
prevent interference." The League pointed out that the FCC's NPRM does not
require interference resolution. "The interference to fixed amateur
stations located in residences in normal geographic proximity to overhead
power lines will be devastating and will preclude Amateur Radio
communications," the League predicted. It called the FCC's proposed
mitigation techniques "too little, too late to avoid widespread

Referring to its main BPL study, the League said measurements at one site
within a BPL test system in Emmaus, Pennsylvania, "exceeded FCC Part 15
limits by up to 20 dB or more." At another test site in Whitehall,
Pennsylvania, using another technology, the study concluded that the BPL
signals--while apparently within Part 15 limits--"would have interfered
seriously with reception of Amateur Radio signals."

"This proceeding should be placed on hold for a year in order to work out
appropriate interference avoidance and resolution standards," the League

The League was among more than 1000 individuals and entities commenting in
the proceeding by the May 3 deadline. Reply comments are due Tuesday, June
1. On the eve of the comment deadline, the FCC denied several
requests--including one from the ARRL--to extend the comment period.

The League's comments are posted on the ARRL Web site


The FCC says minor amendments to various Amateur Radio (Part 97) rules
become effective June 1. The regulatory changes, which the FCC made on its
own motion rather than in reaction to any petitions, appeared May 5 in the
Federal Register.

The most extensive and substantive rule change involves §97.307, Emission
standards, where the FCC revised the wording of §97.307(d), which defines
spurious emissions. The updated language imposes a slightly higher
standard on newer transmitters or amplifiers of any power level. Starting
June 1, the rule will provide that:

   * the mean power of any spurious emission from HF transmitters or
external RF power amplifiers installed after January 1, 2003, must be at
least 43 dB below the mean power of the fundamental emission.

   * the mean power of any spurious emission from HF transmitters or
external RF power amplifiers installed on or before January 1, 2003, must
not exceed 50 mW and must be at least 40 dB below the mean power of the
fundamental emission. If the mean power output of such as transmitter is
less than 5 W, the attenuation must be at least 30 dB.

Still exempt from the provisions of §97.307(d) are transmitters built
before April 15, 1977, or those first marketed before January 1, 1978.

The FCC also has redefined what constitutes an Amateur Radio operator. The
change reflects the advent in the late 1990s of the Universal Licensing
System <> electronic licensee database. Under
the amended §97.3(a)(1) an amateur operator is "a person named in an
amateur operator/primary license station grant on the ULS consolidated
licensee database to be the control operator of an amateur station." The
current rule defines an amateur operator as "a person holding a written
authorization to be the control operator of an amateur station."

Anther change eliminates Technician or Technician with Element 1 credit
licensees from the classes of operators permitted to prepare Element 1 (5
WPM Morse) and Element 2 (Technician written) examinations.

The Commission ordered the rule changes and additional wording updates
within the context of a larger, wide-ranging Notice of Proposed Rule
Making (NPRM) in WT Docket 04-140. That NPRM addresses several Amateur
Radio-related petitions and proposes revisions to operating privileges
(see "FCC Proposes Wide-Ranging Changes to Amateur Service Rules--Not
Restructuring" <>). It
also denied several petitions.

The FCC continues to seek comments on the various proposals put forth in
WT Docket 04-140. Comments are due by Tuesday, June 15, and reply comments
by Wednesday, June 30. Among other changes, the FCC has recommended
adopting the ARRL's "Novice refarming" plan


Jordan Webb, KI4AVG, of Knoxville, Tennessee, had a feeling he should take
his 2-meter handheld transceiver along on an April 30 field trip. Heading
off with his eighth-grade class to remote Abrams Falls in Tennessee's
Smoky Mountains, the 13-year-old decided to throw his handheld into his
backpack--just in case.

"I didn't think I would have to use my Icom V-8, but I packed it anyway,"
Webb told ARRL.

As it turned out, while swimming Vine Middle Magnet School classmate
Christopher Drinkard was pulled under the water of Cades Cove by strong
currents from Abrams Falls. Webb and another classmate, Zach Hubbs, jumped
into the water to help Drinkard when Webb remembered the radio in his

Webb alerted a teacher that he had his radio and hoped that if he could
get to high-enough ground, he might be able to call for help. After
scrambling up a hill, he was able to contact Jim Bond, K6SPY, in
Knoxville. Bond alerted authorities to the situation, and emergency
medical personnel were able to respond relatively quickly to the isolated
area. If someone had had to hike out, it would have taken considerably
longer. Unfortunately, despite rescue workers' quick response, Drinkard
did not survive.

Tennessee Assistant Section Manager David Bower, K4PZT, observed that the
incident occurred in a part of the Smoky Mountains where cell phones
typically don't work. "Ham radio was the means used to request help when
this emergency first happened," he said.

A ham for about one year, Webb is a member of the Anderson County Amateur
Radio Emergency Service, the Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville and several
other ham radio groups in the Knoxville area.

Anderson County ARES Emergency Coordinator Jeff Yawn, KF4UVT, said Webb
has spent Kid's Day in his shack, and he called him "a fine, upstanding
young man."

"I know he did all he could to help his friend," Yawn added.


Roger Thomas Scaggs, W5EBC, will not get to keep his Amateur Radio license
while he serves out a lengthy prison term that could keep him behind bars
at least for the next decade. The FCC in April adopted an Order of
<> in
the case of the Texas amateur licensee, now in prison for killing his wife
in 1996. Unless Scaggs challenges the Order, it becomes effective June 2.

"We conclude, based on the evidence of his conviction for murder, that Mr.
Scaggs lacks the basic requisite character qualifications to be and remain
a Commission licensee," the FCC said in the Order of Revocation, released
April 23.

Last November, the FCC issued an Order to Show Cause, giving Scaggs 30
days to provide notice of appearance to present evidence at a hearing on
the effect of his felony conviction on his qualifications to remain an FCC
licensee and to determine if his license should be revoked.

Scaggs did write David H. Solomon, chief of the FCC's Enforcement Bureau,
to argue that his record as a licensee did not warrant license revocation.
The presiding judge determined, however, that Scaggs' letter did not
constitute a notice of appearance. The judge concluded, instead, that
Scaggs had waived his right to a hearing and certified the case to the
Commission for disposition. The FCC subsequently decided to revoke Scaggs'
amateur license.

An Advanced class ticket holder, Scaggs has been a radio amateur since
1954, and the FCC says he's got a clean Amateur Service record. Following
his murder conviction in 1998, the court sentenced him to 32 years in
prison and levied a $10,000 fine. Scaggs, who turns 65 in June, won't have
an opportunity for parole until he's about 75. He reportedly is attempting
to appeal his murder conviction in US District Court.

The FCC said it found that Scaggs' conviction "mandates the conclusion"
that he does not possess the necessary qualifications to be or remain an
FCC licensee. The FCC said it "considers relevant" evidence of any felony
conviction as indicative of an applicant's or licensee's likelihood of
obeying the law and FCC rules and policies. Originally developed for
broadcast applicants and licensees, the FCC subsequently extended its
policy to include licensees in the Amateur Service and others.


Two Amateur Radio antenna bills have cleared the Hawaii State Legislature
and are on their way to the governor for her signature. But both bills
emerged from the legislative process with language substantially different
from that proposed in the original measures, both sponsored by Rep Ken
Hiraki (D-28). Following lengthy negotiations and a House-Senate
conference, both bills got unanimous Senate votes and healthy majorities
in the House. Because they could affect Hawaiian amateurs living under
deed covenants, conditions and restrictions (CC&Rs), the legislation has
attracted some attention on the mainland. ARRL Pacific Section Manager
Kevin Bogan, AH6QO, says the next step is to encourage Gov Linda Lingle to
sign the measures. He says that while they represent only incremental
improvement in the antenna situation for Hawaiian amateurs living under
CC&Rs, they also provide a basis for future gains.

"We accepted incremental progress to achieve some accommodation for
Amateur Radio antennas," Bogan said. "We established a presence and laid
positive groundwork." He's calling on Hawaii hams to urge Gov Lingle to
sign the two measures into law.

HB 2773 opens the door for amateurs living in condominiums to make
arrangements with the homeowners' association board to erect antennas
without having to change the CC&Rs--often a more difficult process. HB
2774 applies only to a relatively few amateurs who live in
agricultural-zoned property under CC&Rs. "We declined the restrictive
terms proposed for the rest of us," Bogan said. Hams "among the fortunate
few" who meet the criteria for HB 2774 also can cut a deal with their
homeowners' boards to erect antennas--also without having to change the

Both measures require homeowners' association boards to provide a written
explanation if they deny permission to install an amateur antenna.

The two measures faced strong opposition from several condominium
associations, which argued that the original bills were too broad,
required condo and subdivision associations to approve any antenna
installations and would give government the power to override private

"Testimony by condo associations at both the House and Senate hearings was
against any language that would not give the homeowners associations the
final authorization in any antenna installation," Bogan said.
Eleventh-hour wrangling involved reaching consensus on "a very limited
area of compromise" by the ham radio team and condo association
representatives on both bills.

The final versions of the two measures represent "a nudge toward
reasonable accommodation" by homeowners' association boards, Bogan said.
"The bills do not take away board powers, but they give the boards some
pro-antenna powers otherwise denied to them by CC&Rs."

Bogan hopes the existence of the new legislation and the necessity to
provide reasons for denials in writing will cause homeowners' and condo
associations to "be more thoughtful" in their treatment of hams.

Texts of the two bills, HR 2773
<> and
HR 2774
<> are
available on the Hawaii State Legislature Web site.


Dayton Hamvention 2004 will cap three days of activities Friday through
Sunday, May 14-16, with a combined awards presentation and prize drawing
Sunday afternoon as Hamvention draws to a close. This is a change from
past years, when awards presentations were held in conjunction with a
Saturday evening banquet, now discontinued. The 2004 Hamvention awards
ceremony/prize drawing activities will take place in the 7000-plus seat
main arena at the Hara Arena complex Sunday at 1 PM.

This year's award winners include ARRL President Emeritus George S. Wilson
III, W4OYI, who is the recipient of Hamvention's 2004 Special Achievement
Award. Hamvention's awards committee cited Wilson for his decades of
service to Amateur Radio through the ARRL, his public service and
emergency communications work and his determination to overcome the
debilitating effects of a 1995 stroke. Honored with Hamvention 2004's top
award--Amateur of the Year--is Dave Kopacz, KY1V/VP5X. An ARRL member,
Kopacz created and funded a program that gives young hams an opportunity
each year to win an expenses-paid DXpedition trip. Receiving Hamvention's
2004 Technical Excellence Award is Barry Sanderson, KB9VAK, recognized for
developing the RDFT multi-channel, multiphase slow-scan television
modulation scheme.

Drawings for the winners of remaining unclaimed hourly prizes and the
grand prize will follow the awards presentations.

"The world's largest amateur radio gathering and trade show" also has
returned to its traditional name of "Dayton Hamvention," the sponsoring
Dayton Amateur Radio Association has announced. The "Dayton" was dropped
from the Hamvention name a couple of years ago, although many amateurs
long have referred to the event simply as "Dayton."

The 53rd Hamvention takes place at Hara Arena in Trotwood, Ohio, a Dayton
suburb. The theme of this year's show is "The Year of the Contact." For
more information, visit the Hamvention Web site


The DXCC credits component of ARRL's Logbook of the World (LoTW)
<> secure contact database got off to an
enthusiastic and busy start Thursday, May 6--a day later than planned.
ARRL Membership Services Manager Wayne Mills, N7NG, says the
much-anticipated LoTW DXCC component not only is making it easier for
members to apply QSO credits to their DXCC records, it seems to be
renewing overall interest in the DXCC program.

"Several hundred users had linked their Logbook accounts to their DXCC
accounts in the first 24 hours the DXCC component was on-line," Mills
said. "I'm thrilled to see people getting interested in DXCC again."

An ARRL member from Missouri earned the distinction of becoming the first
to qualify for an initial DXCC certificate using only LoTW "virtual QSL"
records. Another amateur--ARRL Midwest Division Vice Director Bruce Frahm,
K0BJ--used LoTW credits to update his DXCC record and now has qualified
for the DXCC Challenge.

The Logbook of the World database has grown to be a repository of some 42
million individual contact records submitted by users in the US and
abroad. When both QSO participants submit matching contact records to
LoTW, the result is a "virtual QSL" now good for DXCC credit. Mills says
more than 2.5 million QSO matches already exist in the system.

For more information, contact the Logbook of The World staff
<>; or visit the LoTW Web site


Ra the Sun god Tad "Walking on the Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Average daily sunspot and solar flux further dropped from last
week to this week, with average daily sunspot numbers down by nearly five
points. Average sunspot numbers for the past two weeks were 52.7 and 48.1.

For the short term, we can expect quiet geomagnetic conditions--good for
HF propagation. Daily solar flux values are expected to stay below 100
until around May 18. Geomagnetic conditions should stay quiet until May
20. Two small sunspots now are facing Earth, and helioseismic holography
reveals no substantial sunspots on the sun's far side.

Scant sunspots this weekend will likely make 20 meters the best overall
band for worldwide DX, with less long-distance propagation on 15 meters.

Sunspot numbers for April 22 through 28 were 90, 63, 64, 45, 47, 28 and
32, with a mean of 52.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 117.1, 115.3, 111.6, 107.1,
99.6, 95.1 and 89.5, with a mean of 105. Estimated planetary A indices
were 4, 20, 11, 12, 7, 5 and 8, with a mean of 9.6. Estimated mid-latitude
A indices were 5, 34, 17, 17, 5, 2 and 7, with a mean of 12.4.

Sunspot numbers for April 29 through May 5 were 25, 46, 65, 41, 50, 63 and
47, with a mean of 48.1. The 10.7 cm flux was 88.5, 89.4, 94.2, 97.5,
91.3, 87.4 and 88.5, with a mean of 91. Estimated planetary A indices were
4, 12, 13, 6, 7, 10 and 13, with a mean of 9.3. Estimated mid-latitude A
indices were 3, 9, 8, 4, 6, 6 and 12, with a mean of 6.9.



* This weekend on the radio: The Armed Forces Day Radio Activity (see
below) is May 8. The Mid-Atlantic, Nevada and Oregon QSO parties, the
VOLTA Worldwide RTTY Contest, the CQ-M International DX Contest, the FISTS
Spring Sprint, the Internet CW Sprint Contest and the 50-MHz Spring Sprint
are the weekend of May 8-9. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (data) is
May 12. The US Counties QSO Party (SSB), Portuguese Navy Day HF Contest,
Manchester Mineira CW Contest, Anatolian RTTY World Wide Contest, His
Majesty the King of Spain Contest (CW) and the ARCI Newcomer's Run are the
weekend of May 15-16. The RSGB 80-Meter Club Championship (CW) is May 20.
See the ARRL Contest Branch page <> and the
WA7BNM Contest Calendar <>
for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration for the ARRL Technician Licensing (EC-010) course remains
open through Sunday, May 9. Classes begin Tuesday, May 18. With the
assistance of a mentor students in the Technician Licensing course will
learn everything they need to learn to pass the FCC Technician license
class test. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing
Education Web page <>. For more information,
contact the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Department

* ARRL Emergency Communications course registration: Seats are still
available for the ARRL on-line Level I Emergency Communications course
(EC-001). Registration remains open through the May 8-9 weekend or until
all available seats have been filled--whichever comes first. Registration
opens Monday, May 10, 12:01 AM EDT (0401 UTC), for the Level II Emergency
Communications on-line course (EC-002). Registration remains open through
the May 15-16 weekend or until all seats are filled--whichever occurs
first. Class begins Tuesday, May 25. 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 the May
registration period, approximately 100 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. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course
Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG,, 860-594-0340.

* Promote ARRL's 90th anniversary, your club and Amateur Radio! The League
is calling on affiliated clubs, public information volunteers and others
to lend a hand in promoting ARRL's 90th anniversary. "We have created
several resources to help promote the 90th, but there are lots of other
opportunities gain added public recognition for clubs and for local
Amateur Radio activities," said ARRL Media Relations Manager Jennifer
Hagy, N1TDY. ARRL--the National Association for Amateur Radio was founded
in 1914 by Hiram Percy Maxim, later 1AW, and Clarence Tuska, later 1AY.
Visit the ARRL Public Relations Department Web page
<> for additional information. Certificates will be
given to clubs or individuals who put on public Amateur Radio
demonstrations or displays through the end of 2004. ARRL invites photos
and/or information about your local public relations efforts to ARRL Media
Relations Manager Jennifer Hagy, N1TDY, The ARRL PR staff
will be distributing a national news release to publicize this historic

* ARRL McGan Award deadline looms: The deadline is Friday, May 21, to
submit nominations for the 2004 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna
Award. This award recognizes significant contributions in the area of
volunteer public relations on behalf of Amateur Radio. Those planning to
nominate someone for the 2004 McGan Award are encouraged to read
"Announcing the 13th Annual McGan Award" in the February 2004 issue of QST
<>. The article highlights the
significant differences between public relations and public service. Rules
for nomination <> and a
nomination form <>
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 EDT on May 21, 2004.

* Armed Forces Day ham-military event set for May 8: To celebrate the 54th
US Armed Forces Day, the Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps and Coast
Guard are cosponsoring the annual Military/Amateur Radio communications
tests Saturday, May 8. While Armed Forces Day is May 15, the Armed Forces
Day on-air special event will take place a week earlier to avoid
conflicting with Hamvention 2004 <>, May 14-16.
The event features military-amateur crossband voice operations and a
digital message receiving test. Full information, including a list of
stations, locations, frequencies and QSL information, is available on the
Armed Forces Special Event Web site

* Historic Westcott House ham radio special event: The Westcott Wireless
Preservation Association--an ARRL-affiliated club--will conduct a special
event station and house tours during Hamvention
<>, from May 13-16 at the historic Westcott
House, 1340 E High Street, Springfield, Ohio. Renowned American architect
Frank Lloyd Wright designed the structure, built in 1907 by Burton and
Orpha Westcott. Their son John was an early radio amateur in 1921 and
operated there as W8AGA using an 800-W spark gap transmitter. Attendance
at the special event is open to all. Visit the Westcott House Web site
<> for directions and additional
information or contact Matt Cline, KB8WFH <>;.

* Kenya simplifies amateur licensing requirements: The Communications
Commission of Kenya (CCK) has announced new, quicker and simpler Amateur
Radio licensing requirements. In short, license applicants no longer need
security or police vetting, although nonresident applicants must be
citizens of countries that have diplomatic relations with Kenya--either
directly or through another country. The basic requirement is confirmation
of the applicant's validity for a license from the applicant's licensing
authority--via e-mail from the licensing authority, if possible. Notarized
photocopies of the applicant's license and passport are required for CCK
records. The Morse requirement has been eliminated. ARSK
Chairman/Secretary Ted Alleyne, 5Z4NU, says ARSK will be glad to assist
new applicants with information and advice. Additional details, including
information on required fees (approximately US$40), is on the Amateur
Radio Society of Kenya Web site <> (click on

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 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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