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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 23, No. 36
September 10, 2004


* +ARRL gets federal grants totaling nearly $267,000
* +Hams still involved in Hurricane Frances recovery
* +Hurricane Watch Net, WX4NHC, SATERN put to the test
* +FCC orbital debris rules will apply to amateur satellites
* +Mystery signal remains unidentified
* +Oldest US ham is 104
* +HPM/135 event wraps up this weekend
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration
     ARRL to sponsor free emergency communications seminar at PACIFICON
    +Stanley L. Burghardt, W0IT, SK
     Industry Canada soliciting comments on Morse requirement

+Available on ARRL Audio News



The ARRL has received new funding of nearly $90,000 from the Corporation
for National & Community Service (CNCS) to execute a pilot program that
will enlighten localities about the value of Amateur Radio to community
safety and security. The one-year grant will enable ARRL to develop the
Community Education Project (CEP) and carry ham radio's message to a dozen
communities across the US. The CNCS also has renewed ARRL's Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications course <> tuition
reimbursement grant for a third--and final--year. The third-year emergency
training grant is for $179,600. ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary
Hobart, K1MMH, says the CEP will work with Citizen Corps--the League is a
Citizen Corps affiliate--and ARRL personnel.

"While our friends and major partners understand the power of Amateur
Radio in an emergency, a clear understanding of what certified Amateur
Radio operators can accomplish to enhance safety and security has not
trickled down to the general community," Hobart said. "We know that our
best work happens at the local level to keep communities safe and secure."

As examples, Hobart cited Amateur Radio assistance following the recent
one-two punch from Hurricanes Charley and Frances in Florida and a spate
of wildfires in the Western US. The Community Education Project will be an
extension of the role hams play as individuals, within local clubs and on
Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams, she said.

The CEP will work through local civic organizations, news media,
faith-based groups, schools, food banks and a variety of other community
organizations to get Amateur Radio's message across, Hobart explained.

Hobart also said she was extremely gratified to see the third-year Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications course tuition-subsidy grant come through.

"This grant award--totaling $266,599 for two programs--is a vote of
confidence for what hams have accomplished over the past two years by
being responsive to national security needs and in times of emergency,"
she said. "We're thrilled that we got this."

The third-year grant will place even greater emphasis on providing Amateur
Radio emergency communications training to licensees age 55 or older and
will provide training for 1700 volunteers.

ARRL Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, will be
traveling extensively to both Amateur Radio and emergency
communications-related events and meetings to drive home the point that
hams play a vital role in times of disaster and emergency, as recent
events have demonstrated.

"Please encourage everyone--especially seniors--to take the Level I
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course," Miller urged. "With full
reimbursement of the registration fee for ARRL members, the training is
virtually free--but only for one more year." He encouraged those who have
already completed Level I to further their knowledge by completing Levels
II and Level III. Tuition is reimbursable for all three course levels.

"The demand for trained Amateur Radio operators continues to grow at a
phenomenal rate," he emphasized. "By completing the emergency
communications training, you are reinforcing the lifeblood of Amateur
Radio--emergency communications."

Level I course registration <> opens on the
first Monday of every month. Registration is also available via regular
mail. Send check or money order to ARRL, ATTN CCE, 225 Main St, Newington,
CT 06111. In the comment section, write EC-001 (for Level I) or the
designator for the course you wish to enroll in.

If you are 55 or older, write "senior" next to the course designator, and
your name will be added to the next available class for that course,
Miller said. "If you hold an ARRL Field Organization appointment," he
said, "add that title in the comment section. Field appointees move to the
top of the list." Registrants also should include a preferred e-mail
address, telephone number, age and veteran status. Missing information
will delay processing.

A grant from ARRL's corporate partner, United Technologies Corp, will
continue to subsidize Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course
training until the end of 2005.


As Florida recovers from Hurricane Frances, Amateur Radio Emergency
Service (ARES) and Radio Amateur Emergency Service (RACES) members
throughout the state this week continued to support communication for
shelters, local emergency operation centers (EOCs) and anywhere else they
were needed. From Palm Beach County, Southern Florida Assistant Section
Manager Jeff Beals, WA4AW, reports that ARES/RACES activated September 2,
prior to Frances' making landfall.

"Over 50 amateurs assisted with communications support during the Frances
operation," Beals said of the Palm Beach response. "Some positions were
manned by their operators for the first 36 hours before relief was
available." He worked with Palm Beach Emergency Coordinator Dave
Messinger, N4QPM, in the county emergency operations center (EOC).

Like much of Southern Florida, Palm Beach County remains in the recovery
stage, and some areas still were without commercial power or telephone
service at week's end. While shelters there have closed, the EOC remained
up and running to handle logistical communications. Over the Labor Day
weekend, hams were called on to help back up the county's public safety
radio system after it went down for about 11 hours. While most of the
traffic was routine, hams did relay a fire call.

The Melbourne Hamfest, scheduled for September 11 and 12, was canceled due
to the effects of Hurricane Frances.

Southern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Goldsberry, KD4GR, said
at week's end that relief operators still were needed in Brevard County.
West Central Florida SM Dave Armbrust, AE4MR, also was looking for
volunteers for standby relief duty.

In Volusia County, ARES/RACES was active in the Daytona Beach area. Mike
Glennon, KB4JHU, came from Tullahoma, Tennessee, with his communications
trailer to pitch in. Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, of Amateur Radio//Video News,
reports that seven hams from Tennessee and Georgia turned out to relieve
exhausted Florida locals.

"Mike was stationed at one of five assistance centers in the county where
residents could pick up ice and supplies," Pearce said, adding that
Volusia County ARES/RACES EC Fred Magliacane, KF4VRS, managed to keep
going despite very little sleep during the activation.

In Clay County, southwest of Jacksonville in northern Florida, Vern
Ferris, W4NEK, reports that his ARES team provided shelter communications
over the Labor Day weekend until telephone service there was restored.

In a comments posted on the ARRL mentor reflector, Gary Johansan, WD4NKA,
in Deltona, Florida, said even Hiram Percy Maxim would be impressed by the
"old fashioned hamming" he monitored on the emergency nets. His family
evacuated to Orlando, and he's still awaiting the restoration of
electrical power. He said cell phones were useless in large areas of
Volusia County until well after Frances left the peninsula.

"Ham Radio may be a lot of things," Johanson said, "but one thing the twin
storms have proven to us on the peninsula is this: Ham radio is absolutely


With hurricanes threatening almost at the rate of one per week since
mid-August, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has had a busy time of things.
Following a brief respite after seven straight days in operation, the HWN
reactivated on 14.325 MHz at week's end for Hurricane Ivan--a powerful and
dangerous storm that attained Category 5 level this week before throttling
back to a Category 4 storm. After wreaking havoc in the Windward Islands,
Grenada, Trinidad and the northern coast of Venezuela, Ivan was expected
to hit Jamaica by early September 11--if not sooner. Reports to the net
from maritime mobiles, primarily in Grenada, indicated severe damage from
Ivan, which was packing 145 MPH winds as it approached Jamaica.

"We will be listening for reporting stations in Jamaica before turning our
attention to Cuba, which is next in the path," HWN Manager Mike Pilgrim,
K5MP, said. He said he anticipates the HWN will remain active during
20-meter band openings until Ivan no longer represents a threat to
populated areas.

If Ivan continues on its current track as of week's end, it will be in the
Straits of Florida by September 13, according to National Hurricane Center
projections. Pilgrim, who lives in Boca Raton in southern Florida, said
the storm appears to be a threat to the entire state. Authorities already
have issued a mandatory evacuation order for tourists and mobile home
dwellers in the Keys, he said, but given the chancy logistics of
evacuating, Pilgrim is planning to hunker down for the storm, should it

Pilgrim says he just got electricity back September 6--he has an auxiliary
generator for his household and a deep-cycle battery for his ham gear--but
he didn't have telephone service, including cellular, until September 8.
He says half of his community remains in the dark.

The HWN works hand-in-hand with WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center in
Miami to gather ground-level weather data and damage reports from Amateur
Radio volunteers in a storm's path. The net relays these to forecasters
via WX4NHC, which regularly checks into the net and also disseminates
weather updates.

The recent hurricane activations also have generated an unprecedented
level of activity on the HWN Web site, Pilgrim said. As a result, the HWN
has issued a plea for contributions to purchase additional Web capacity
<>. The Hurricane Watch
Net Web site <> offers access to the latest weather
forecasts as well as storm graphics.

The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) on 14.265 MHz
closed down at September 7 at 2100 UTC following five straight days of
operation in response to Hurricane Frances. During that time, the net
handled 181 health-and-welfare inquiries.

"I continue to marvel at the stellar effort that amateur operators give
across the nation when catastrophe strikes," said SATERN National
Coordinator Pat McPherson, WW9E. Some SATERN volunteer operators put in
14-hour days to guarantee that people were helped, he said. As of week's
end, SATERN was standing by to assist if needed in response to Hurricane


New FCC Amateur Radio space station rules will impose requirements to
mitigate orbital debris. The FCC adopted a Second Report and Order (R&O)
in IB Docket 02-54 on June 9. The new rules, appearing September 9 in the
Federal Register, affect Parts 5 (Experimental Service), 25 (Satellite
Communications) and 97 (Amateur Service) of the FCC's rules and
regulations. In general, they require submission of an "orbital debris
mitigation plan" to the FCC with each license application. AMSAT-NA--the
Radio Amateur Satellite Corporation--had wanted Amateur Radio exempted
from any orbital debris mitigation requirements that went beyond what the
FCC initially proposed for Part 97 in 2002. AMSAT-NA President Robin
Haighton, VE3FRH, said the organization is discussing the implications of
the R&O but has no formal position yet.

"While AMSAT does not like to be restricted--we are free enterprise
people--we do acknowledge that even space is not limitless," Haighton told
ARRL. "The more debris there is, particularly in lower orbits, the more
danger there is of collisions and eventually the greater the difficulty in
defining launch windows."

Haighton said that between now and the AMSAT-NA Symposium and Annual
Meeting in October, the AMSAT Board of Directors "will have a chance to
evaluate the FCC position and try to develop our own guidelines and
requirements for building AMSAT satellites."

The AMSAT-NA president said that while he personally agrees with the
notion of limiting space debris, "the application of this principle may be
a problem."

In its formal comments in 2002, AMSAT-NA commended the FCC for initiating
the proceeding and agreed that the growing quantity of space debris
"presents a potential problem to all who wish to use space" and that
"methods of controlling and reducing it are called for."

The new rules the FCC has ordered will significantly expand ß97.207(g) in
the Amateur Service rules governing space stations. The additional
provisions will require "a description of the design and operational
strategies the space station will use to mitigate orbital debris" that
include statements covering several specific areas. Space station license
grantees will have to state, among other things, that they have "assessed
and limited the amount of debris released in a planned manner during
normal operations" as well as the probability that the space station
itself could become a source of debris through collisions with other
debris or meteoroids.

In its comments, AMSAT took "strong exception when it comes to meteors."
Those launching satellites, AMSAT said, can assess the orbital parameters
of known objects but "no such information is available for meteors."

Satellite licensees also must state that they have assessed and limited
the probability of accidental explosions during and after completion of
mission operations. "This statement must include a demonstration that
debris generation will not result from the conversion of energy sources on
board the spacecraft into energy that fragments the spacecraft," a new
97.207(g)(1)(ii) rule section specifies.

Such a scenario occurred in the case of AO-40, which apparently suffered a
catastrophic onboard event not long after it went into orbit in 2000.
AO-40 went silent earlier this year. AMSAT has commented that as a
practical matter, the objective of minimizing debris from accidental
explosions "is unlikely to be met by additional failure-mode analysis."

The demonstration would have to address whether "stored energy" would be
removed at the end of the spacecraft's life "by leaving all fuel line
valves open, venting any pressurized system, leaving all batteries in a
permanent discharged state and removing any remaining source of stored

Satellite licensees will have to include a statement disclosing the
"accuracy--if any--with which orbital parameters of non-geostationary
satellite orbit space stations will be maintained." AMSAT has asserted
that "state-of-the-art practices do not allow specification of the
Keplerian orbital elements of spacecraft with sufficient accuracy to
predict or avoid the collision of two space objects."

AMSAT pointed out that many smaller satellites of the type most likely to
be launched for Amateur Satellite use lack propulsion systems to maintain
a certain orbital tolerance or to deorbit the spacecraft when its mission
is over. Most, AMSAT told the FCC, would burn up in the atmosphere.

AMSAT had suggested in its reply comments that the issue of orbital debris
needed more study and broader participation by stakeholders, "because of
the complexity of the matter and the economic impact regulations might
have on future satellites."

The FCC has not yet announced an effective date for the new Part 97 rules.


An unidentified signal that's been showing up on the 40-meter phone band
on or about 7238 kHz has mystified amateurs in the western US and Canada,
where it's been heard frequently for the past few weeks. Although it
resembles a steady carrier, a closer inspection suggests that the
intruding signal actually is a series of closely spaced signals. Don
Moman, VE6JY, in Edmonton, Alberta, says the signal is quite loud at his

"This signal looks a lot more interesting than it would sound--just a
broad tone/hum/buzz, depending on where you tune," he said. One
spectrogram from VE6JY showed perhaps a half-dozen or more discrete
signals. "It's certainly loud enough out here, peaking broadly
south-southwest from Edmonton," he said. Moman was using a 5-element Yagi
and was hearing the signal at 10 dB over S9.

That conforms with observations reported by Bob Gonsett, W6VR, at
Communications General Corp (CGC). He says engineers at the CGC lab in
Fallbrook, California took a quick look at the intruder September 6 at
around 2120 UTC and found "several close-spaced CW carriers--perhaps from
one specially modulated transmitter, perhaps from transmitters at
different locations," he reported. CGC reported the signals appeared on
7238.063, 7238.150, 7238.237 and 7238.412 kHz, with the 7238.237 kHz
signal being "the strongest of the group."

While no one's sure what it is, the FCC HF Direction Finding Facility has
been able to determine that it's coming from somewhere north of Prescott,
Arizona, and west of Interstate 17. FCC monitoring indicates the "buzz" is
centered on 7238.1 kHz with a bandwidth of about 1 kHz and spikes spaced
at about 90 Hz apart.

Reports to the International Amateur Radio Union Region 2 Monitoring
System indicate the signal has been heard from about 1700 to 2130 UTC,
although Moman reported hearing it at around 0300 UTC and said the signal
even went off the air for a few seconds while he was listening to it. Jack
Roland, KE0VH, in Colorado also heard the signals for a couple of evenings
this week. "Something is not right there," he remarked.

High Noon Net Manager Bill Savage, N5FLD, in Albuquerque, New Mexico said
several net participants--in Nebraska, Colorado, Nebraska, Wyoming,
Minnesota and Arizona--were able to hear the mystery signal.


William F. "Bill" Diaper, KJ6KQ, of Union City, California, appears to
hold the honor of oldest radio amateur in the US--and quite possibly the
world. Diaper, who turned 104 years old August 12, is a native of Great
Britain. He now lives in a long-term care facility, but an acquaintance,
Thomas "Fergy" Ferguson, N6SSQ, reports that Diaper remains alert and
active and occasionally has gotten on the air from a ham shack in the
facility's basement.

"He said the shack, located in the basement next to the laundry room, is
damp, dark and not user-friendly," Ferguson said after speaking with
Diaper by telephone. He said Diaper needs assistance operating the
equipment but has been on the air within the past year, checking into the
Pacific Amateur Radio Guild (PARG) net on one occasion. According to
Ferguson, Diaper has been a radio amateur for a relatively short
time--considering his longevity--apparently first licensed when he was
around 75 years old. An Advanced class licensee, Diaper is an ARRL member.

Byrl "Tex" Burdick, W5BQU, of El Paso, Texas, who died at age 103 last May
30, generally had been regarded as the nation's oldest Amateur Radio
licensee. Diaper actually was born 44 days earlier than Burdick in 1900,
although Burdick--a ham for decades--had a solid claim on ham radio

Fellow residents of the Masonic Homes where Diaper lives gathered August
12 to celebrate his birthday. "He was the man of the hour," a staff member
of the facility told ARRL.

Members of PARG also sent many birthday cards and letters, and Diaper
called Ferguson to relay his appreciation. "It really cheered him up to
get such a flurry of mail," Ferguson said, adding that he hopes Diaper
will have the opportunity to get on the air again in the near future.

"When I talked to Bill, he was very clear and had excellent recall of
events, places, dates etc," Ferguson recounted. "An amazing man to chat
with, but it just took me a few minutes to get used to his accent."

The apparent crown prince as the oldest ham in the US is Robert Galbasin,
W0MHN, of Lakewood, Colorado. He'll turn 104 on December 27.


The HPM/135 on-the-air event to commemorate the 135th anniversary of the
birth of the ARRL's co-founder and first president Hiram Percy Maxim
concludes at 2400 UTC on Sunday, September 12. Stations may be contacted
on any band or mode--including repeaters--for credit.

ARRL Life Members, Headquarters staffers, present or past ARRL directors,
presidents, vice presidents, honorary vice presidents and the League's
extended family of elected and appointed volunteers (see eligibility list
<> or September
QST, p 40) may identify by appending /135 to their call signs.

The object is to work as many HPM/135 stations as you can. Putting at
least 25 in the log will make an operator eligible for an attractive
certificate, so spread the word! HPM/135 stations transmit signal report,
appointment (or position) and name. All others transmit signal report and

See September QST, p 40, or "Amateur Community Invited to Celebrate Maxim
Birthday Anniversary" <> for
additional details and how to apply for a certificate. Entries must be
postmarked by October 16, 2004.


Astral aficionado Tad "Sun King" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington, reports:
Sunspot numbers and solar flux rose during the past week. The average of
the daily sunspot number for the reporting period compared to the previous
seven days rose nearly by 30 points to 57. Average daily solar flux was up
more than 16 points to 106.1. Solar flux is predicted to rise over the
next few days. Predicted solar flux is 135 for September 10 and it's
expected to remain around 140 for the next four days or so. Fortunately,
the planetary A index is expected to remain low, with predicted values
September 10-13 at 5, 8, 8 and 10.

Sunspot numbers for September 2 through 8 were 25, 25, 28, 59, 82, 95 and
85, with a mean of 57. The 10.7 cm flux was 93.9, 96.7, 99.3, 103.2,
106.5, 118.9 and 124.5, with a mean of 106.1. Estimated planetary A
indices were 9, 3, 4, 7, 14, 16 and 9, with a mean of 8.9. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 8, 1, 2, 5, 9, 11 and 4, with a mean of 5.7.


* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL September VHF QSO Party, the North
American Sprint (CW), the WAE DX Contest (SSB), the CIS DX Contest (RTTY),
the Swiss HTC QRP Sprint, the Tennessee QSO Party and the ARCI End of
Summer PSK31 Sprint are the weekend of September 11-12. JUST AHEAD: The
North American Sprint(SSB), the ARRL 10 GHz and Up Contest, the SARL
VHF/UHF Contest, the Scandinavian Activity Contest (CW), the Collegiate
QSO Party, the Mediterranean Islands Award Contest, the South Carolina QSO
Party, the QRP Afield event, the Washington State Salmon Run and the QCWA
QSO Party are the weekend of September 18-19. The 144 MHz Fall Sprint is
September 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 Technician Licensing course (EC-010) remains open
through Sunday, September12. Classes begin Friday, September 24. With the
assistance of a mentor, EC-010 students learn everything they need to know
to pass the FCC Technician license class test. To learn more, visit the
ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page or contact the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Program Department <>;.

* Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course registration: Registration
for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level II on-line
course (EC-002) opens Monday, September 13, at 1201 AM EDT and will remain
open through the September 18-19 weekend or until all available seats have
been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Friday, October 1. 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. Seniors are strongly encouraged to participate. During this
registration period, seats are being offered to ARRL members on a
first-come, first-served basis. To learn more, visit the ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education Web page <>.
For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan
Miller, K3UFG,; 860-594-0340.

* ARRL to sponsor free emergency communications seminar at PACIFICON: The
ARRL will offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course
seminar Saturday, October 16, in conjunction with PACIFICON 04 in
California. The seminar will not include the Level I course itself. It's
open to all interested hams. ARES/RACES volunteers, ARECC course
participants and ARRL Field Organization leadership (SMs, SECs, DECs and
ECs) are especially encouraged to share experiences and brainstorm ideas
for motivating volunteers and coordinating activities. A PowerPoint
presentation will be followed by group discussion of multiple disaster
scenarios, comments from emergency communications leadership, discussion
about the ARRL Amateur Radio emergency communications courses, the status
of grants from the Corporation for National and Community Service and
corporate partner United Technologies Corporation, updates on emergency
communications tools and a quiz to determine personal preparedness. The
seminar takes place Saturday, October 16, 1:15 PM until 4:45 PM, in Salon
F at the San Ramon Marriott, 2600 Bishop Drive, San Ramon, California.
Seating is limited. If you plan to attend, contact Dan Miller, K3UFG,
<>;; 860-594-0340; fax 860-594-0259. More information on
PACIFICON 04 is on the convention Web site <>.
Seminar attendance does not include admission to the convention.

* Stanley L. Burghardt, W0IT, SK: Stan Burghardt, W0IT (ex-W0BJV), of
Watertown, South Dakota, died August 22. He was 93. He was the founder of
Burghardt Radio Supply Inc (now Burghardt Amateur Center). Licensed in
1931 as W9BJV (which became W0BJV in 1946), Burghardt remained active on
the air--especially on 6 meters--until his death. He also had been active
in satellite work and was a member of ARRL, AMSAT and SMIRK. Burghardt
started out selling ham radio parts in 1937 and in the 1950s expanded his
Watertown operation into a popular Amateur Radio equipment supplier. The
company has been a regular QST advertiser for the past 50 years, and many
early ads featured a photo of Burghardt with his signature. Burghardt sold
the business to Jim Smith, W0MJY, but he remained active in the company
until January 2002. A service was held September 1.

* Industry Canada soliciting comments on Morse requirement: Radio Amateurs
of Canada (RAC) says Industry Canada (IC) is seeking comments from
Canada's amateur community on recent RAC proposals dealing with Morse code
as a qualification for Amateur Radio HF operation. RAC has proposed that
IC delete the mandatory requirement for Morse testing but leave it as a
voluntary qualification, since some countries retaining a Morse
requirement may require Morse credit for reciprocal operation. The RAC
recommends that Canadian amateurs endorse the proposal, Gazette Notice
DGRB-003-04, Consultation on "Recommendations from Radio Amateurs of
Canada to Industry Canada Concerning Morse Code and Related Matters,"
released August 28. Canadian amateurs have 60 days to comment.

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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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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