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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 23, No. 20
May 14, 2004


* +ARRL generally supports cognitive radio proposals
* +President Bush hears ham's BPL concerns
* +Amateur rocket poised to carry ham radio payload into space
* +California to host USA ARDF Championships in June
* +FCC seeks comments on wireless broadband access
* +W6RO marks a quarter-century of ham radio aboard the Queen Mary
* +ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service changes aimed at improving service
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     ARRL Foundation announces scholarship winners
     ARES team in Virginia responds to severe weather emergency
     YCCC announces DXpedition Award Program for new, younger hams
     Allen Baker, KG4JJH, wins QST Cover Plaque Award
     IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Iran
     DXCC DX Desk approves operations for DXCC credit

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The ARRL says it generally supports the proposals contained in an FCC
Notice of Proposed Rule Making and Order (NPRM&O), ET Docket 03-108
relating to so-called cognitive radio (CR) technology. But the League
urged the FCC to avoid large-scale deployment of CR technology--and
especially of unlicensed devices in spectrum regularly used by licensed
services--"until further experience with the technology is obtained." The
ARRL also strenuously objected to a proposal to allow cognitive radio
technology devices to operate under Part 15 in "rural areas" at up to a
sixfold increase in the currently permitted power level in several UHF
bands that include amateur allocations.

"ARRL opposes increases of power levels for undefined and indefinable
'rural areas,'" the League's comments said, "because the practical radio
horizon at higher Part 15 power levels makes interference with the Amateur
and Amateur-Satellite service operations in many frequency bands
inevitable." The FCC seeks to allow a transmitter power increase of up to
six times (approximately 8 dB) higher than current Part 15 limits in the
902-928, 2400-2483.5 and 5725-5825 MHz bands and in the 24 GHz band.

The League said the Commission should not view cognitive radio as an
opportunity to increase permissible Part 15 power levels and questioned
why the FCC was willing to put forth such proposals "without the slightest
real-world test deployment" of the systems it wants to authorize.

A "cognitive radio" is one that "can change its transmitter parameters
based on interaction with the environment in which it operates," the FCC's
NPRM&O says. "This interaction may involve active negotiation or
communications with other spectrum users and/or passive sensing and
decision making within the radio." Most cognitive radios will be software
defined radios (SDRs), the League predicted.

"There is no need for separate rules regarding cognitive and software
defined radios," the ARRL said, calling both "an excellent opportunity" to
drive technological advancement within Amateur Radio. "They should and can
be regulated within the existing rules." The ARRL also urged the FCC to
avoid creating regulatory obstacles that would hamper "experimentation and
flexibility in conducting amateur operations."

"These technologies will allow ever-greater participation by amateurs in
restoration of communications systems following a wide-area emergency or
disaster and in conducting disaster relief efforts on site in coordination
with served agencies," the League predicted.


An ARRL member from Wisconsin took advantage of a recent campaign visit by
President George W. Bush to carry ham radio's concerns about broadband
over power line (BPL) right to the top. Rich Kelly, KB9RNO, of Prairie du
Chien, says he did what he could May 7 in the few moments it took to greet
Bush and shake his hand.

"I wanted him to know that it was a concern for us," Kelly said. He got
his chance when Bush was leaving the campaign event, he said, and was able
to get very close to the president and shake his hand.

"I held his hand extra long and said, 'Mr President, please support the
Amateur Radio operators of America!'" Kelly says the president looked
right at him and replied, "I do, I do."

As Bush moved on down the line of well-wishers, Kelly continued,
"Broadband Internet over power lines is a real concern for us." He said
the president turned back toward him and responded, "I know, I know about

"And in a flash, he was gone," Kelly said. "It doesn't really tell us much
about his support or concern about the potential problem, but at least I
know that he heard me and was aware that he was talking to a Amateur Radio
supporter. That is my best effort for going right to the top!"

Kelly said the exchange took place as Bush made a planned campaign stop in
Prairie du Chien, a Mississippi River community of some 6200 people. He
said approximately 1500 were on hand for the occasion, and he managed to
get a ticket to the "town hall meeting" the president addressed.

Kelly said he knew he had a once-in-a-lifetime chance to say something to
the president on behalf of Amateur Radio. "Trying to find the right words
when I knew that I only had a short time to do it was the hard part," he

Kelly says that while the president may have forgotten the exchange just
as quickly as it occurred, he felt it was a worthwhile gesture
nonetheless. "I made the effort and feel good about it," he said, adding,
"Long live Amateur Radio!"

In late April, the ARRL called on the White House to withdraw its support
for BPL and focus the administration's attention on "more suitable
technologies" such as wireless broadband access. The League has issued a
call for members to do the same.

The ARRL Web site provides an information package
<> explaining how members can
contact the White House and members of Congress to express their views on
BPL deployment and why they need to do so.


An amateur rocket team is hoping to send a 21-foot-tall rocket carrying a
ham radio avionics package into the fringes of space. The launch by the
Civilian Space Xploration Team (CSXT) could occur as early as Monday, May
17, from Black Rock Desert in Nevada. A CSXT try to reach space in 2002
ended some three seconds after launch when the rocket's engine exploded.
Avionics Team Leader Eric Knight, KB1EHE, says CSXT has since rebounded
from that devastating blow with a newer, bigger vehicle.

"We are very pumped," the Connecticut amateur told ARRL. "Our confidence
level grows with each launch. All the ingredients are there for success."
Knight's avionics team includes eight Amateur Radio licensees, most of
whom also were involved in the 2002 launch attempt. The entire CSXT team,
headed by CSXT founder and Program Director--and former Hollywood stunt
man--Ky Michaelson of Minnesota, has 18 members.

In terms of Amateur Radio, the GoFast rocket, named for a corporate
sponsor, will transmit telemetry on the 33-cm amateur band and Amateur TV
at 2.4 GHz using a high-quality color camera. The avionics also
incorporate multiple global positioning system (GPS) units to record the
vehicle's precise location and flight path, redundant data acquisition and
storage systems, and a variety of data sensors.

Once the rocket goes up, appropriately equipped amateurs may be able to
receive signals from the approximately 2 W transmitters onboard, even at
some distance from the launch site, Knight says. Specific frequencies had
not been selected by week's end, however. In addition, the team will set
up a special event HF station at the launch site with the call sign
K7R--"for rocket," Knight says. Look for K7R in the General class phone
portions of 20 and 40 meters.

Knight says the avionics crew even salvaged a few electronic components
for the 2004 launch from the 2002 avionics package, which continued to
function flawlessly until the rocket crashed into the desert.

Plans call for the solid-fuel rocket to zip upward from the desert floor
and reach a speed of more than 4000 MPH in about 9 seconds. Assuming all
goes well, the suborbital vehicle will, on its own momentum, attain an
altitude of 100 km or 62 statute miles--high enough to be considered
"space"--linger there for a couple of minutes then arc back to Earth some
26 miles down range. If successful it would mark the first amateur rocket
launch into space.

Knight is optimistic that the team has gained valuable knowledge from its
past failures. "We've learned a lot that you can't get from a textbook,"
he said. "We feel we have a chance to make history."

There's more information on the CSXT Web site,


Amateur Radio Direction Finding (ARDF) enthusiasts across the US are
gearing up for the fourth annual national ARDF Championships next month.
ARRL ARDF Coordinator Joe Moell, K0OV, says, the sport--also known as
radio-orienteering or foxtailing--is an all-on-foot "adventure in the
woods" to see who can track down and find the most hidden transmitters in
the shortest time. The Santa Barbara Amateur Radio Club (SBARC)
<> will host the competition. Radio-orienteers from
all over the country plus visitors from abroad are expected to attend.
Moell anticipates a mix of experts and newcomers who aspire to be future
champions. He says equipment need not be elaborate or expensive.

"Most beginners do very well by augmenting their handheld VHF transceivers
with simple Yagi antennas made out of a steel measuring tape and PVC pipe
from the hardware store," he said. For "closing in," he says an offset RF
attenuator consisting of some $15 worth of small parts will knock down the
signal and keep the receiver's S-meter within its scale. "Plans are on the
Web <>, and kits are
available, so warm up your soldering iron," he adds.

The ARDF competitive courses are open to anyone of any age and at any
foxhunting skill level. No Amateur Radio license is needed. Medals in the
event will be awarded in five age categories for males and four for
females, in accordance with International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) rules

Heading up the USA ARDF Championships is Marvin Johnston, KE6HTS, a
medalist at the last two USA ARDF Championships.

An optional training camp with map-and-compass orienteering kicks off the
ARDF action June 12-13. The main program gets under way Wednesday, June
16. The 2-meter competition takes place Friday, June 18. The 80-meter
competition is the next day.

The California events end just in time for final selection of ARDF Team
USA 2004 members, who will travel to the Czech Republic for the 12th ARDF
World Championships September 7-12. More than 200 participants
representing two dozen or more countries are expected to turn out for the
event. Moell says Team USA's positions will be filled based on
performances in this year's national championships in California and in
last year's national championships in Ohio.

There's more information on the 2004 USA ARDF Championships on the SBARC
Web site <>. A downloadable
registration form and additional information are on Moell's "Homing In"
Web site <>.--Joe Moell K0OV


Even as the FCC pursues its broadband over power line (BPL) agenda, it's
continuing to explore wireless broadband access. FCC Chairman Michael K.
Powell this week announced the formation of a Wireless Broadband Access
Task Force, which has released a public notice seeking comment on issues
related to the FCC's wireless broadband policies. Powell says the task
force's mission is to identify potential changes in wireless broadband
policies that will further facilitate the deployment of wireless broadband

"We are strongly committed to facilitating broadband investment and
deployment, particularly through technological choices," Powell said.
"This Commission has put a high priority on making sure Americans have
access to broadband services through multiple facilities-based platforms.
I believe that we can do even more."

The FCC says the new task force "will reach out to all relevant
stakeholders and develop recommendations that will further the deployment
of wireless Internet service providers (WISPs)." Powell says the
"overarching goal" of this newest initiative is to examine what the
Commission can do to extend broadband services to underserved areas and to
increase competition in areas already having broadband access.

There's more information on the FCC's Wireless Broadband Access Task Force
Web site <>.


W6RO, the Amateur Radio station in the Wireless Room of the Queen Mary,
recently celebrated 25 years of continuous operation. Permanently berthed
at the Port of Long Beach, "The Queen" is one of the most popular tourist
attractions in Southern California. During its 25 years of operation, W6RO
has presented a positive image of Amateur Radio to more than four million

W6RO is the club call sign of the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach,
an ARRL Special Service Club. At the center of operations is Nate
Brightman, K6OSC. He has spearheaded Amateur Radio aboard the Queen Mary,
recruited hundreds of operators, garnered equipment donations from leading
manufacturers, and maintained excellent relations with "The Queen's"

At a 25th anniversary celebration held April 29 in the Queen's salon, ARRL
Southwestern Division Director Art Goddard, W6XD, presented a Special
Service Award to Brightman, who accepted it on behalf of all W6RO radio

"What does it take to sustain a major volunteer operation over a quarter
century?" Goddard asked in his remarks. "Vision, persuasion, promotion,
persistence and enthusiasm. And a leader like Nate Brightman, K6OSC. The
results? A deep sense of personal satisfaction and the presentation of
Amateur Radio to more than four million visitors."

Nearly 100 amateurs volunteer at least four hours a month to operate W6RO
from 9 AM until 5 PM daily. W6RO also is a regular stop on the Queen Mary
self-guided tour, and licensed visitors may log in and get on the air. The
former passenger liner now is on the National Register of Historic Places.

There's more information on the Associated Radio Amateurs of Long Beach
W6RO on the Queen Mary Web site <>


The ARRL E-Mail Forwarding Service
<> has instituted several
changes to reduce the overall volume of unwanted e-mail traffic while
evening out the flow of desired correspondence. One outcome--at least in
the short term--has been a reduction in undesired and unsolicited e-mail
("spam") via e-mail addresses. Several Forwarding Service
participants have even e-mailed ARRL Headquarters to remark on the
improvement. ARRL Chief Financial Officer Barry Shelley, N1VXY, says daily
volume on the free-to-ARRL-members service and the number of users--63,000
and rising--have grown dramatically, requiring some mitigation. Volume was
averaging 500,000 messages per day, and on some days, traffic reached
nearly one million.

"Changes had to be made, as this volume threatened to overwhelm the
resources of the servers that maintain and process the e-mail for the ARRL
E-Mail Forwarding Service," Shelley said. "In addition, because of the
volume of spam, Internet service providers (ISPs) would periodically
refuse to accept messages originating from addresses, mistakenly
identifying the Forwarding Service as a spam source."

"We're trying to keep the Forwarding Service viable and at no cost to
members," he said.

Among other changes, the Forwarding Service vendor updated its Realtime
Black Lists to include many more targeted spam sources. "This should help
to somewhat reduce the amount of spam," Shelley explained. He predicted,
however, that as spammers figure out how to circumvent the changes, spam
levels are likely to rise again.

The Forwarding Service also reduced the amount of time a message remains
in a queue on the servers before the sender receives a delivery
failure message. Although the vendor adjusted the number of recipients the
Forwarding Service server will process at any one time, there is no limit
on the number of addressees.

"What it means is that the sending server may have to deliver a given
message more than once to reach all intended recipients," he explained.
"The idea is to smooth out the flow of messages through the system,
reducing the number of messages in the queues as well as eliminating or
minimizing delays resulting from a high volume of traffic."

Members can help reduce their vulnerability to spam by not posting their e-mail addresses on public Web sites, Shelley says. But, he
adds, as long as spamming continues to be a moneymaker, nothing will
eliminate it entirely.


Propagation prognosticator Tad "Good Day Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle,
Washington, reports: Sunspot activity has been in the doldrums, which is
expected at this stage of the declining solar cycle. Average daily solar
flux and sunspot numbers have hardly changed over the past week. Now, both
numbers are rising modestly due to quickly expanding Sunspot 606, which is
squarely aimed at Earth. There's also some good news from the sun's far
side, where helioseismic holography has detected another sizable sunspot
group. Both sunspot and solar flux numbers have topped 100. The lowest
recent sunspot count was 30 on May 6, and the solar flux dropped to 85 the
following day.

Solar flux values should rise over this weekend, with the Friday through
Monday, May 14-17, solar flux predicted at 105, 110, 115 and 115. Solar
flux should stay in the vicinity of 115 through Thursday, May 20. The
predicted planetary A index indicates unsettled conditions for Saturday,
May 15, with the Friday through Monday planetary A index predicted at 12,
15, 12 and 8.

A new issue of the NOAA Space Environment Center Preliminary Report and
Forecast <> includes some
solar cycle predictions on pages 12-13. The forecast for the bottom of the
cycle still looks to be around the end of 2006 or early 2007. For the
higher HF bands, declining sunspots mean fewer or even no openings on 10,
12 and 15 meters, and probably a greater reliance on 20 or 17 meters for
worldwide propagation during daylight hours.

Sunspot numbers for May 6 through 12 were 30, 34, 37, 57, 55, 46 and 83,
with a mean of 48.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 86.4, 85.2, 87.2, 93.2, 93, 90.2
and 98.8, with a mean of 90.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 8, 17,
10, 6, 7, 10 and 11, with a mean of 9.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices
were 10, 13, 7, 3, 5, 8 and 9, with a mean of 7.9.


* This weekend on the radio: 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. JUST AHEAD: the 2 GHz and Up Contest, the
VK/Trans-Tasman 80-Meter Contest (phone) the EU PSK DX Contest and the
Baltic Contest are the weekend of May 22-23. 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 Antenna Modeling (EC-004) on-line course remains
open through Sunday, May 16. Classes begin Tuesday, May 25.
Computer-modeling expert and noted author L.B. Cebik, W4RNL, has combined
the expertise of his long career as a college professor with his love and
antennas and antenna modeling to offer a comprehensive, yet practical,
course of study. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and
Continuing Education Web page <> or contact the
ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Program Department

* ARRL Foundation announces scholarship winners: The ARRL Foundation has
announced the recipients of 39 scholarship awards for the 2004 academic
year. Winner of the $5000 ARRL Scholarship to Honor Barry Goldwater is
Nathaniel T. Oster, KC0IEI, of Ames, Iowa. The Mary Lou Brown Scholarship
award of $2500 goes to A. J. Barse, KD7OGZ, of Silverdale, Washington,
while the $2000 Perry F. Hadlock Memorial Scholarship recipient is John
Stratton, AA3SL, of Glen Mills, Pennsylvania. A complete listing of all
scholarship winners is on the ARRL Web site. Information and applications
for 2005 academic year scholarships, including three new scholarship
awards for 2005, downloadable applications and instructions, are on the
ARRL Web site <>.The application period for 2005
academic year awards begins October 1, 2004. The deadline to submit
applications with transcripts and SAT/ACT scores affixed is February 1,

* ARES team in Virginia responds to severe weather emergency: The
Spotsylvania County, Virginia, ARES team activated May 7 after severe
thunderstorms knocked out part of the county's emergency communications
system. "The problem resulted when a strong series of thunderstorms passed
through the area about 6:30 Friday evening," said Virginia Section
Emergency Coordinator Tom Gregory, N4NW. "Lightning strikes associated
with these storms knocked out a portion of the 911 radio communications
system serving the various volunteer fire stations in Spotsylvania and the
radio link between Spotsylvania and Stafford." Amateur Radio operators
provided backup communication to each of the county's fire stations until
normal communication was restored to the stations. Members of Stafford
County ARES assisted Spotsylvania ARES by providing additional operators
and a radio link between the Spotsylvania and Stafford sheriff's offices
to maintain interoperability between the two departments while the normal
radio link was down at the Spotsylvania County end.

* YCCC announces DXpedition Award Program for new, younger hams: The
Yankee Clipper Contest Club (YCCC) has announced a new DXpedition Award
Program, aimed at encouraging new and younger amateurs to participate in
contesting. The club raised funding for the 2004-2005 contest season with
a raffle. YCCC will award the winning applicant up to $1500 to
accompany--for up to one week--a YCCC-authorized DXpedition or contesting
operation anywhere in the world to compete in one of four major contests:
The ARRL International DX Contest or the CQ World Wide DX Contest--CW or
phone. The award will help defray transportation and lodging costs and
provide a stipend of $150. Applicants must live within a radius of 175
miles of the club's center--Erving, Massachusetts. Applicants must be
14-21 years of age to qualify in the "youth" category, or licensed for
less than one year (with no prior license) to qualify in the "amateur"
category. Applicants for both categories must hold a General class or
higher license. The application period deadline for this contest season is
July 15, 2004. One winner will be chosen and announced at the New England
Division Convention <>, August 14-15 in Boxboro,
Massachusetts. The winner must use the award within one year. For further
details and an application, contact YCCC President Jim McCobb, W1LLU
<>;, 978-363-1619; fax 978-363-2430. A contesting club
with more than 400 members that's been in existence for more than 25
years, the YCCC's territory includes most of New England, as well as parts
of New Jersey and New York. To learn more, visit the YCCC Web site

* Allen Baker, KG4JJH, wins QST Cover Plaque Award: The winner of the QST
Cover Plaque Award for April is Allen Baker, KG4JJH, for his article "A 6
Meter Moxon Antenna." Congratulations, Allen! 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 May issue of QST. Voting ends May 31.

* IARU presents Amateur Radio Administration Course in Iran: In response
to an invitation from the administration of the Islamic Republic of Iran,
Fred Johnson, ZL2AMJ, representing International Amateur Radio Union
(IARU) Region 3, and Daniel Lamoureux, VE2KA, representing the IARU
International Secretariat, visited Iran to present a three-day Amateur
Radio Administration Course April 26-28. Since the early 1980s this course
has been conducted by IARU in various forms all over the world--including
at ARRL Headquarters--and in response to invitations from administrations
to train regulators and prospective regulators in the administering of the
Amateur and Amateur Satellite services. Related objectives include
managing disaster relief communications and organizing an Amateur Radio
society. The course in Tehran was arranged by the Directorate General of
Telecommunications. Presentations included PowerPoint displays prepared by
the IARU. Each of the 16 participants received printed copies of the
displays and many other documents, plus two CD-ROMs containing information
about Amateur Radio. The two IARU visitors spoke with many radio amateurs
in Tehran, some of whom attended the course. The course participants
visited EP3PTT, a station established on the Ministry's premises in
Tehran. The equipment in this station was received by Iran from the IARU
Region 3 Stars program. It may be operated by licensed Iranian operators
by arrangement. Johnson and Lamoreaux described the course as a memorable
experience and said they'd been very warmly received. Contact between IARU
and the amateurs and the administration of Iran will continue.--IARU

* DXCC DX Desk approves operations for DXCC credit: The following
operations have been accredited for DXCC: Burundi, 9U5M, February 4-March
17, 2003; Chad, TT8XZ, December 4-19, 2003; Iraq, YI/N3YPI, August 22,
2003 through present; YI/AB8DY, July 2, 2003 through present; Democratic
Republic of the Congo, 9Q0AR, January 1-March 31, 2004; 9Q1KS, January
1-March 31, 2004; Haiti, HH2SJR, January 1, 1998-present; Rivellagigedo,
XF4IH, March 3-20, 2004. For more information on the ARRL DXCC
program--including rules, current and deleted DXCC lists and all forms
needed to participate--visit the DXCC Web site

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
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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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