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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 25, No. 01
January 6, 2006


* +ARRL renews interference complaint against Ambient Corp BPL installation
* +Sole surviving West Virginia miner KC8VKZ still critical
* +Hams aid fight against Texas grass fires
* +Bill Sawders, K7ZM, appointed NW Division Vice Director
* +Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, named QEX Managing Editor
* +Weekends best time to catch NA1SS on the air
* +Canadian amateurs to lose 220-222 MHz
* +Nominations sought for 2006 Dayton Hamvention awards
* +ARRL Foundation approves more new scholarships
* +Astronaut Leroy Chiao, KE5BRW, goes out on top
*  Solar Update
     On the radio: ARRL RTTY Roundup, January 7-8; ARRL Kid's Day, January
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
+Available on ARRL Audio News <http//> 

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL,


In the wake of continued FCC inaction in response to several previous
complaints, on January 5 the ARRL filed a renewal of the complaint against
the Ambient Corporation's Broadband over Power Line system in Briarcliff
Manor, New York. The BPL system is operated by Ambient, on power lines owned
and operated by Consolidated Edison, under an experimental FCC

The latest communication points out that the FCC, without adjudicating
ARRL's repeated complaints about interference throughout the amateur 20
meter band, renewed Ambient's experimental license for an additional term,
from August 1, 2005 to August 1, 2007. "The Briarcliff Manor BPL system
currently (still) causes harmful interference to Amateur Radio
communications and it is not compliant with applicable FCC part 15
regulations," according to the ARRL complaint. "Neither," it continues, "is
it compliant with the terms of the experimental authorization granted by the
Commission, most recently on August 1, 2005." 

It continues: "ARRL reiterates its request, now more than a year old, that
the BPL instructed to shut down immediately; and that it not
resume operation unless the facility is shown to be in full compliance with
Commission rules regarding radiated emissions and with the non-interference
requirement.of the Commission's Rules and the terms of the experimental
authorization. Finally, information about it must be listed in the BPL
publicly accessible database." 

Appended to the January 5 complaint letter was a 25 page engineering report
entitled "Additional Testing of BPL System in Briarcliff Manor, NY." ARRL
Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, wrote the report after conducting further
tests at the site December 5, 2005. The report points out that he had
conducted similar tests twice before during 2005, and three times during
2004. In this earlier testing, Hare found significant violations of FCC
rules regarding Part 15 emissions limits.
The January 5 ARRL complaint, entitled "Continued Request for Immediate
Cessation of Operation," was signed by ARRL Counsel Christopher D. Imlay,
W3KD, and was sent to the FCC's Joseph Casey, Bruce Franca and James Burtle.
Casey is Chief, Spectrum Enforcement Division, while Franca serves as Acting
Chief, Office of Engineering and Technology, and Burtle is Chief,
Experimental Licensing Division. A copy was also sent to the counsel for
Ambient Corporation. 

For more about BPL, see the BPL pages on the ARRLWeb


The only survivor of the January 3 mine explosion in Tallmansville, West
Virginia is Randal McCloy Jr, KC8VKZ, of Philippi, West Virginia. At press
time, he was listed in critical condition at Allegheny General Hospital in
Pittsburgh, where he is undergoing specialized treatment. Hams may wish to
send a note of support on a QSL card to Randal McCloy Jr, KC8VKZ, PO Box
223, Philippi, WV 26435. -- tnx Randy Padawer, K7RAN


Amateur Radio Emergency Service and other Amateur Radio operators from the
West Texas Section, and especially the Abilene vicinity, were called to
assist with communications during the last week of 2005 when the wildfires
struck Cross Plains, Texas, in the southeastern portion of neighboring
Callahan County. 

"There was no cell service because the connection to the cell tower was
burned," said Bill Shaw, KJ5DX, the ARRL Emergency Coordinator in nearby
Taylor County. "There was one landline phone working at the church where the
Cross Plains Red Cross shelter was set up." 

Amateur Radio operators established communication via UHF and VHF radios
between the Cross Plains Shelter, Brownwood Red Cross Shelter, and Abilene
Red Cross headquarters. A team of 14 radio amateurs was on hand during this

"We kept up 24 hour communications for Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday until
noon via ham radio," Shaw explained. "The fire started as a grass fire about
noontime on December 27, and quickly escalated into a raging wildfire that
was fed by 45 mph winds." 

Unfortunately, the fire quickly spread toward town about 3 miles away, and
it burned the area that is about 4 to 6 miles east-west and 2 to 3 miles
north-south in size. 

"About 31 fire departments fought fires until about 5:00 the next morning,"
Shaw said. As a result of this fire, almost 8,000 acres burned, 152 homes
were damaged, and that represents 25 to 30 per cent of the homes in Cross
Plains. Over a hundred of those homes were completely destroyed. 

Wildfires have also been burning in drought-stricken Oklahoma and New

ARRL President Jim Haynie has appointed William J. Sawders, K7ZM, of Bend,
Oregon, to fill the remaining year of the current term of Northwestern
Division Vice Director. The Election and Ethics Committee has verified his

A former Oregon Section Manager, Sawders was appointed to the position
vacated by Jim Fenstermaker, K9JF, who became Director upon the sudden
passing of Greg Milnes, W7OZ, on December 17. Sawders's term ends at noon on
January 1, 2007. 

First licensed in 1957 at the age of 12, Sawders has held an Amateur Extra
class license since 1968. Previous call signs were K6ZMZ and W7KWK. He
received the call sign K7ZM in 1977. His wife, Vicki is a licensed General
class operator and holds the call sign K7VKI. 

Bill was the ARRL Oregon Section Manager from 1998 to 2002, and is Past
President of the San Diego DX Club (1968), Central Oregon Radio Amateurs
(1992) and Central Oregon DX Club (1989-1998). He is currently President of
the Central Oregon Contest Club. Bill is also the owner of the 145.490
repeater on the south end of Bend. 


Long-time ARRL HQ staffer Larry Wolfgang, WR1B, is the new managing editor
of QEX, the ARRL's magazine for communications experimenters. 

Editor of ARRL license study materials since 1985, Larry has been employed
at ARRL Headquarters since 1981. He holds a bachelor's degree in physics
from Susquehanna University, and taught high school science prior to coming
to ARRL. Larry edited the popular QST Hints and Kinks column as well as QST
technical articles before moving over to the Book Team to take on the ARRL
license manuals series. He has served as a technical consultant on the ARRL
video license courses and produced ARRL's Morse code training materials,
including Your Introduction to Morse Code. Larry was the editor of the 1990
edition of The ARRL Handbook and was the handling editor for a number of
books in the ARRL Radio Amateur's Library. First licensed as WN3JQM in 1968,
at the age of 15, Larry also held WA3VIL for many years. 

Readers can find more information about QEX, published six times a year, at
the QEX Web site <http// The Table of Contents for each
issue is listed there, along with a sample article for free download. 


The best time to catch International Space Station (ISS) Expedition 12
Commander Bill McArthur, KC5ACR, on the air from NA1SS is during a weekend.
Now about halfway through his six-month duty tour, McArthur already has more
than 300 casual contacts in his log, and he's eager to up the count.

"Weekends seem to be Bill's favorite time to operate," says Amateur Radio on
the International Space Station (ARISS) Ham Radio Project Engineer Kenneth
Ransom, N5VHO. "The weekend has few scheduled activities, so the crew may
operate anywhere from 0800 until 2200 UTC."

But Ransom says McArthur also operates in his free time on weekdays, and
that includes his lunch hour, scheduled around 1200 to 1400 UTC. "Bill has
occasionally operated in this time during the week," he told ARRL.

The crew's work day ends about 1930 UTC, but McArthur and crewmate Valery
Tokarev usually stay up for another couple of hours. The crew sleeps from
2130 until 0630 UTC.

McArthur recently completed Worked All Continents (WAC) from space,
including the "traditional ARISS" requirement to work Antarctica.

"We clearly share a lot in common," McArthur told Chuck Kimball, N0MHJ, at
Palmer Station's KC4AAC during their 2-meter contact December 17. "You know,
we have this bond. Just our hostile environments are a little bit

McArthur's still trying to earn Worked All States (WAS) and DXCC from space
and as 2005 drew to a close already had logged 37 states and 38 DXCC

Responding to questions regarding the legitimacy of a DXCC earned from a
spacecraft circling 220 miles above Earth, ARRL Membership Services Manager
Wayne Mills, N7NG, concedes that while McArthur's efforts don't have that
much to do with traditional DXCC, they won't devalue the efforts of those
earning the award from Earth either.

"While rules are very important, particularly in defining the DXCC program,
other concepts can, and often do, transcend mere rules," he said. "Think of
this as more of a public relations opportunity."

In addition, McArthur has been averaging two ARISS school group contacts as
his schedule permits. Not since Expedition 3--when there were three people
aboard the ISS for each crew increment--has a crew member done this on a
regular basis.

The NA1SS worldwide voice and packet downlink frequency is 145.800 MHz. In
Regions 2 and 3 (the Americas, and the Pacific), the voice uplink is 144.49
MHz. In Region 1 (Europe, Central Asia and Africa), the voice uplink is
145.20 MHz. The worldwide packet uplink is 145.99 MHz. 

When NA1SS is in crossband FM repeater mode, the worldwide downlink is
145.80 MHz, and the uplink is 437.80 MHz. All frequencies are subject to
Doppler shift. The Science@NASA Web site provides location information for
the ISS <http//>. 


Barring an outpouring of "compelling arguments to the contrary," Industry
Canada will reallocate the 220-222 MHz portion of 220-225 MHz from the
Canadian amateur service to the mobile and fixed services. Under the
provisional reallocation, which will take effect January 25, the amateur
service will be allocated the 219-220 MHz subband on a secondary basis.
Additionally, the amateur service may be permitted use of 220-222 MHz "in
exceptional circumstances on a secondary basis to assist in disaster relief


The Dayton Hamvention is accepting nominations for its 2006 awards for Radio
Amateur of the Year, Special Achievement and Technical Excellence. The
deadline for nominations is February 20, 2006. 

All Amateur Radio operators are eligible. The winners will be recognized at
the 2006 Hamvention, which runs May 19-21. 

Nominations are due by February 20, 2006. Additional details on these awards
and a nomination form are available on the Dayton Hamvention Web site
<http//>. Nominations also are accepted via US
mail to Dayton Hamvention Awards, PO Box 964, Dayton, OH 45401. 

For more information, please send e-mail to -- Dayton


The ARRL Foundation has announced the addition of new scholarships for the
2006-2007 academic year. The ARRL Foundation Board recently approved
additions to the 43 scholarship awards it now offers. The Yasme Foundation
will fund five $2000 scholarship awards in 2006 for students pursuing
undergraduate studies in the sciences and engineering. Two of the five
scholarships are designated as renewable for up to three additional years
depending on student performance. The ARRL Foundation also approved The Seth
Horen, K1LOM, Memorial Scholarship to honor Horen, a native of Stratford,
Connecticut and avid ham radio operator. The Horen Scholarship award of $500
is currently funded by contributions of family and friends. 

To be eligible for an ARRL Foundation scholarship, an applicant must be an
Amateur Radio licensee attending or accepted at an accredited two or four
year college or university. Information and application forms for all ARRL
Foundation-administered scholarships are available on the ARRL Foundation
Web site <http//>. The application period for ARRL
Foundation scholarships closes February 1, 2006. 


Veteran International Space Station commander, spacewalker and three-time
space shuttle flier Leroy Chiao, KE5BRW, has retired from NASA. 

"Leroy's been a valued team member and has provided extensive expertise to
the nation's space flight program," said Ken Bowersox, KD5JBP--who headed
ISS Expedition 6 and now serves as flight crew operations director. "We wish
him continued success in his future."

During an Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school
group QSO in late 2004 while heading ISS Expedition 10, Chiao told
youngsters that the most exciting thing about being an astronaut is flying
in space and looking at "our beautiful Earth." Chiao spoke via ham radio
with students at 23 schools while he was aboard the ISS. 

Selected as an astronaut in 1990, Chiao flew his first mission four years
later, becoming the first Asian-American and ethnic Chinese to fly in space
and perform a spacewalk. He subsequently conducted four spacewalks in 1996
and 2000 to demonstrate tools, hardware and techniques for space station
assembly and to configure space station hardware just prior to human

As Expedition 10 commander and NASA ISS Science Officer, Chiao performed two
more spacewalks to complete repair and installation tasks during his six
months aboard the ISS in 2004-2005. 


Solar Seer Tad "Dancing in Sunshine" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
Average daily sunspot numbers for the past week (December 29 through January
4) were nearly 22 points below the previous period. Average daily solar flux
was about the same. Average daily mid-latitude geomagnetic indices (A and K
index) were exactly the same, and planetary A and K index were slightly

Sunspot numbers for December 29 through January 4 were 77, 67, 62, 41, 37,
39 and 25 with a mean of 49.7. 10.7 cm flux was 90.3, 89.9, 87.4, 87.4,
84.5, 84.9, and 84, with a mean of 86.9. Estimated planetary A indices were
8, 7, 9, 4, 5, 3 and 2 with a mean of 5.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices
were 7, 6, 9, 5, 5, 3 and 1, with a mean of 5.1.



* On the radio: The ARRL RTTY Roundup, the Midwinter Contest (CW), the
Original QRP Contest, the EUCW 160-Meter Contest, the Midwinter Contest
(SSB), the DARC 10-Meter Contest are the weekend of January 7-8. ARRL Kid's
Day is Sunday, January 8 <http//>. JUST
AHEAD: The North American QSO Party (CW), Hunting Lions in the Air, the 070
Club PSKFest, the Michigan QRP January CW Contest and the NRAU-Baltic
Contest (CW and SSB are separate events) are the weekend of January 14-15.
The Run for the Bacon QRP Contest is January 16. The NAQCC 80-Meter Straight
Key/Bug Sprint is January 19. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<http//> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<http//> for more info. See the ARRL
Contest Branch page <http//> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <http//> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration remains open through Sunday, January 8, for these ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education (CCE) Program on-line courses:
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 2 (EC-002), Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications Level 3 (EC-003), Antenna Modeling (EC-004),
VHF/UHF Beyond the Repeater (EC-008), Radio Frequency Propagation (EC-011)
and HF Digital Communications (EC-005). Classes begin Friday, January 20. To
learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
<http//> or contact the CCE Department

* WRTC 2006 application deadline extended: The deadline for applications to
participate in WRTC 2006 <http//> has been
extended until January 20, 2006. So far, more than 80 participant
applications have been received. WRTC 2006 will take place July 7-10 in and
around Florianopolis, Brazil. The global Amateur Radio contesting
competition is held in conjunction with the International Amateur Radio
Union (IARU) HF World Championship, although WRTC rules differ in some
respects from those of the IARU event, and scoring is separate. Two-person
teams from all over the globe will compete for gold, silver and bronze
medals. WRTC stations run 100 W and have comparably modest antenna
systems--typically a dipole for the low bands and a triband Yagi for the
higher bands.

* KB5AVY is winner of third annual Lynch Award: Dr Roberto Dabdoub, KB5AVY,
of Metairie, Louisiana, has been named the recipient of the W. Sandy Lynch
(W7BX/7J1ABV) Memorial Award. Given annually by the Tokyo International
Amateur Radio Association (TIARA), founded in 1972, seeks to exemplify
Lynch's dedication to the hobby and his personality. For 20 years, Dr
Dabdoub, a native of Honduras, has kept four repeaters on the air in the New
Orleans area, and one of them remained working in the metro area following
Hurricane Katrina. The repeater was able to stay on the air because of the
auxiliary power source at its location, Ochsner Clinic Foundation. "There
were many ham radio operators and stations, both on HF and VHF, involved in
the response to the Katrina disaster," TIARA President Steven Herman,
K7USJ/7J1AIL, said in announcing the award winner. "We want this year's
award to symbolize what a single ham and our so-called old-fashioned
communications systems can do for the public when disaster strikes." TIARA
says Dr. Dabdoub lost his home in the disaster. Just last year, his
insurance carrier discontinued his policy because of changes in flood zone
regulations where he lives near Lake Pontchartrain. 

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;
<http//>. 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 <http//> for the latest news,
updated as it happens. The ARRL Web site <http//> offers access
to news, informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<http//> is a weekly "ham radio newscast"
compiled from The ARRL Letter. 

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

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: Rick Lindquist, N1RL,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <http//>
==>ARRL Audio News: <http//> or call

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The ARRL Letter

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

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

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

Back issues published since 2000 are available on this page. If you wish to subscribe via e-mail, simply log on to the ARRL Web site, click on Edit Your Profile at the top, then click on Edit Email Subscriptions. Check the box next to The ARRL email newsletter, the ARRL Letter and you will receive each weekly issue in HTML format. You can unsubscribe at any time.

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