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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 25, No. 11
March 17, 2006


* +Amateur Service to remain within FCC Wireless Bureau
* +First ARRL "Hello" campaign tools now available
* +German school marks successful space contact
* +ARRL spring 2006 Spectrum Defense campaign under way
* +Amateur Radio volunteers handle tornado duty in Midwest
* +Mississippi's governor signs amateur antenna statute
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
    +AMSAT names Director of Education
     CUTESats get OSCAR numbers
    +NASA honors TV journalist, anchor Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD
     DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

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


The FCC approved a proposal March 17 to create a new Public Safety and
Homeland Security Bureau (PS&HSB) that would assume some functions now under
the umbrella of the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB). But it appears
that the Amateur Radio Service--now within the WTB's Public Safety and
Critical Infrastructure Division, headed by Michael J. Wilhelm, WS6BR--will
remain within the WTB, according to Anthony Dale, Acting Director of the
FCC's Office of Managing Director (OMD). 

"The Critical Infrastructure piece--that's things like taxi cabs, Amateur
Radio, chemical plants, all that type of thing--those are not public
safety-specific functions," Dale said in response to a reporter's question
following the FCC open meeting. "The plan is to keep those in the Wireless

Creation of the new bureau was a topic of some discussion during a meeting
earlier this month of the ARRL Executive Committee. With the complete
details of the reorganization still uncertain, however, the League is
adopting a wait-and-see attitude for now.

Mika Savir, an attorney advisor within the FCC's OMD, presented the proposal
to the Commission. "By this action, the Commission would take an important
step to better address public safety, homeland security, national security,
emergency management and preparedness and disaster management," she said.
"As you know, the Commission has a statutory mandate to assist in promoting
the safety of life and property, as well as the national defense, through
the use of communications."

An official document spelling out just which functions and services will end
up where has not yet been made public, and even Dale did not appear to be
entirely clear on specifics. He and others stressed that some PS&HSB
functions may overlap those of other bureaus.

The FCC said the changes are subject to Congressional notification before
they become effective. In addition, the Commission must work with the
National Treasury Employees Union Local 209 to secure its approval for
issues affecting the Commission's workforce.

The last changes affecting the functions of the WTB occurred in 2003. This
reorganization has been several months in the planning. Some observers had
speculated that Amateur Radio would be shifted to the PS&HSB, thus removing
it from the WTB's market-based approach to regulation. Moving some of the
WTB's current responsibilities to the new bureau, however, could speed up
the process of moving Amateur Radio-related proceedings through the

The PS&HSB will have three divisions: Policy, Public Communications Outreach
& Operations, and Communications Systems Analysis. In addition, the bureau
will have a front office consisting of senior leadership and management

The new bureau would be the seventh within the FCC. Commissioner Michael
Copps said the proposed reorganization goes beyond "reshuffling" of the
bureaucracy. He expressed the hope that creation of the new Public Safety
and Homeland Security Bureau would be viewed as "the first step in putting
the FCC out front--where it long should have been--in providing
communications security for all Americans in this dangerous age."

The Commission voted unanimously to approve creation of the new bureau.


The first components of the ARRL's "Hello" Amateur Radio public relations
campaign now are available. "This campaign will give hams the tools they
need to reach out in their communities to non-hams and influence their
perception of Amateur Radio," says ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager
Allen Pitts, W1AGP, who conceived the campaign and is its principal
Headquarters contact. The "Hello" campaign is aimed at recasting Amateur
Radio in the light of the 21st century and focusing on its universal appeal.
At the same time, it will mark the 100th anniversary of what many historians
consider the first voice radio broadcast in 1906 by Reginald Fessenden.

"For years, ARRL public information officers (PIOs) and others interested in
promoting Amateur Radio have been looking for leadership and a rallying
point from which we can join together in a major promotion for ham radio,"
Pitts said. This is it! Tools include a distinctive "Hello" Web site
<> and radio and TV public service announcements.

Based on the word "Hello," which Pitts calls "possibly the most pleasant
word in any language," the coordinated campaign will set "a positive, upbeat
tone that highlights the international capabilities of Amateur Radio," he
explained. The "Hello" Web site is designed for non-hams to learn a little
bit about Amateur Radio and to arouse more interest. The site points
prospective Amateur Radio licensees to groups that have indicated they will
provide a warm welcome to newcomers. The national "Hello" campaign can bring
curious people into contact with ham radio groups, but it will be up to
local radio amateurs to make them truly welcome, Pitts maintains.

"The key to creating a new ham operator is to develop a relationship with a
current ham operator," says Pitts. Behind the effort is "an army of
dedicated, truly motivated PIOs and others who want to see ham radio

A series of 30-second radio public service announcements (PSAs)
<> has been developed for the "Hello"
campaign. "You can help by downloading the PSAs from the ARRL Web site onto
a CD and taking it to your own local radio station," Pitts suggests.

A broadcast-quality video for the "Hello" campaign will be available in

Copies of the special four-page "Hello" brochure
<> are available
from ARRL Headquarters for use during presentations to non-ham groups. (Full
details on the "Hello" campaign plus a pull-out copy of the brochure are
available in the April issue of QST.) The brochures are suitable for talks
to schools, clubs, displays and other venues promoting Amateur Radio to the
public. There is a space on the back page to add local club info.

"For 100 years, the magic of the human voice over radio has brought
imaginations to life. It opened a whole new era of human communication," the
brochure declares, urging, "It's your world. Get on the radio and say

To obtain copies, e-mail the "Hello" campaign <>;. Donations
are welcome (make checks out to "ARRL") to help cover return postage to
ARRL, Public Relations, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111.

"Hello" logo bumper stickers will be on sale through the ARRL on-line
catalog <>. Buttons for the "Hello"
campaign will be available at Dayton Hamvention and at other major Amateur
Radio events. Banners for the "Hello" campaign will be flying at Dayton
Hamvention and at the National Association of Broadcasters convention in
April. After that, they will be made available for use at major events in

"ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, was correct in stating that the Main
Street of today is not the same as the Main Street of yesteryear," Pitts
says. "To reach out today, the very first requirement is that Amateur Radio
operators be perceived as friendly and trustworthy. That's a true public
relations goal and the primary focus of the campaign."


Twenty-one soon-to-be radio amateurs attending the Evangelisches Gymnasium
in Lippstadt, Germany, talked shop with ISS Expedition 12 Commander Bill
McArthur, KC5ACR, on March 8. The Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) program arranged the direct VHF QSO between DN2LP at the
school and NA1SS in space. The school incorporated ARISS lesson plans into
its curriculum, and all of the participating students had already passed
their Amateur Radio exams and are awaiting their new call signs. One student
wanted to know if McArthur had ever taken an insect into space by accident.

"Yes, on shuttle missions we would very often see mosquitoes, because
Florida is a place that has so many," McArthur responded. "They seem very
confused and die very quickly."

Other students at the school--which accommodates youngsters and youth
between the ages of 10 and 19--were curious about the effects of
microgravity. One girl wanted to know if it was possible to have a runny
nose in zero G.

"Fortunately, we don't get sick on orbit very much and therefore don't get
runny noses," McArthur explained. "But we do experience head congestion
because of the shift of fluids from our legs to our upper body and head."

McArthur also told the students that a candle cannot burn in space because
microgravity prevents the necessary convection currents from forming, and if
you were to cry, tears would not be shed but gather around the eye instead.

All of the students at the church-run school have been studying physics. One
of the QSO participants asked how much of the ISS depends on electricity. 

"Everything we have onboard is electrical," McArthur replied. "The primary
uses of electricity are heater and our fans and pumps." The solar arrays on
the ISS can produce approximately 18 kW of power right now. When the space
station is completed, its power production will jump to 110 kW. 

One student stumped McArthur with his question, "Which state law is
recognized on the ISS?" Responded McArthur to the amusement of the students
and the audience: "You got me on that one. I just don't have an answer."

Some 900 students attend the school, located in the state of North
Rhine-Westfalia. Control operator Ralf Karrasch, DF4DC, and teacher Daniel
Ahrens, DO7DAN, supported the participating students in preparing to take
their ham radio license examinations, reports ARISS Mentor Peter Kofler,
IN3GHZ, noting that everyone who took the test passed. "Congratulation to
the new members of our worldwide radio ham family!" he commented.

A team of radio amateurs from local clubs set up the satellite station at
the school that included automatic antenna tracking on the primary station,
Kofler said. The station equipment was located in the huge assembly hall,
where an audience of 400 students, parents and teachers followed the
contact. The NA1SS signal was loud and clear throughout the nearly 10-minute
contact, which drew cheers and applause from students and audience as it

The QSO attracted the attention of German news media. Westdeutscher Rundfunk
(WDR) TV and radio and Hellweg Radio covered the ham radio event, which was
broadcast live on the two radio channels. An article touting the successful
ham radio contact appeared the following day in the local newspaper Der

The Lippstadt contact marked the 30th ARISS school QSO McArthur has
handled--by far a record for any ISS crew member.

ARISS <> is an international educational outreach
with US participation by ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.


Contributions to the ARRL Spectrum Defense Fund have helped the League to
make significant progress in the battle against interference from Broadband
Over Power Line (BPL). But the fight's not over, says ARRL CEO David Sumner,
K1ZZ, who calls the BPL effort "one of the most important" the ARRL has ever
undertaken to protect Amateur Radio spectrum." Thanks in part to the
generosity of League members, however, Sumner offered up some good news as
the Spring 2006 Spectrum Defense Fund campaign kicks off

"Contrary to the predictions of its shameless promoters, 2005 was not a big
year for BPL," Sumner said in a letter to League members. "The number of
cities in which BPL service was widely available to consumers was the same
at the end of the year as at the beginning: two." Cable and DSL providers
add more new broadband customers in a single morning than have ever been
served by BPL, he said. Sumner also pointed to shutdowns of BPL trials in
Pennsylvania and Idaho. 

"Most utilities that have looked at BPL have decided not to pursue it," he
said. But Sumner cautions that Amateur Radio cannot count on BPL's "likely
failure in the marketplace" to keep the radio spectrum safe from pollution.

The ARRL has been in the forefront of raising the visibility of the BPL
radio interference issue, Sumner asserted. "We have kept after the FCC to
correct ongoing spectrum pollution from BPL, particularly from the
much-ballyhooed system in Manassas, Virginia." At the same time, the League
has cooperated with BPL companies that take the interference issue seriously
and design their systems to avoid it.

"The ARRL is not opposed to BPL, but we remain steadfastly opposed to
interference caused by BPL systems," Sumner stressed.

Spectrum Defense Fund contributions have enabled the League to petition the
FCC to "properly draw the line between BPL systems that can be deployed
without serious harm to radio communication and those that
cannot"--something the current BPL rules don't do. Until such rules are in
place and properly enforced, "we won't let the spectrum polluters and their
apologists off the hook," Sumner said, adding that the League also will keep
after the FCC to "do the right thing."

In the meantime, Sumner says, BPL companies that take interference seriously
are gaining traction at the expense of those that deny the problem exists.
"This is no accident," he said. "It's the result of the ARRL's relentless
media relations efforts to keep radio interference at the center of the BPL

While it's attracted much of the attention in recent years, BPL is just one
of many threats to the Amateur Radio spectrum we enjoy. "A dedicated team of
volunteers and staff works constantly on your behalf," Sumner said. He
notes, for example, that the League is attempting to leverage the
five-voice-channel "toehold" it obtained for Amateur Radio in the vicinity
of 5 MHz into something more like a traditional amateur allocation.

Sumner concluded by pointing out that membership dues alone don't cover the
costs of protecting, promoting and advancing the Amateur Radio Service.
Members may contribute to the Spectrum Defense Fund via the ARRL's secure
donations Web page


Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) teams in Missouri this week assisted
emergency managers in that state with damage assessment after a huge string
of tornados swept through the nation's midsection March 12. Nine people were
reported dead in Missouri and one in Indiana in the aftermath of the severe
weather. Missouri Section Emergency Coordinator Don Moore, KM0R, told ARRL
that he and three other radio amateurs deployed March 13 as a
"quick-response team" to Pettis County, Missouri, just south of Sedalia
along US Route 65 to support the county's emergency operations center (EOC).

"There was some major wind through here," Moore told ARRL. The severe
weather damaged or took down utility lines along US Route 65 and elsewhere.
The Pettis County Emergency Management Agency requested the ARES call-up.
Nine ARES members ultimately activated to help seven damage-assessment
teams. ARES stood down later the same day.

ARES handled minimal voice traffic, Moore said. While the ARES group was
prepared to pass damage assessments to the EOC via WinLink 2000, that turned
out not to be necessary. The ARES team did communicate with the Missouri
Emergency Management Agency to demonstrate Winlink from the field, he added.

Missouri appears to have been the state hardest hit by the weekend storms,
which generated hail said to have been the size of softballs. Damage in the
Show-Me State stretched from west to east, with houses reportedly destroyed
along a 20-mile path south of St Louis. 

Tornadoes also struck Kansas, where the University of Kansas canceled
classes March 13 due to safety concerns. The school, located in Lawrence,
reportedly suffered damage to nearly two-thirds of its buildings, but no
serious injuries were reported. Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network
(SATERN) members were requested to deploy the SATERN Mobile Generator
Trailer when the storms knocked out power in Douglas County, Kansas. 

SATERN Kansas State Coordinator June Jeffers, KB0WEQ, reports that SATERN
members moved the generator from Olathe to Lawrence, keeping in touch with
the emergency nets along the way. SATERN and ARES members in eastern Kansas
remained on standby in case they were needed. 

In Arkansas, Section Manager David Norris, K5UZ, reports Franklin County
ARES/RACES and Sebastian County RACES activated SKYWARN nets over the
weekend. "Northwest Arkansas was hammered late last night with quite a bit
of damage in Centerton," he told ARRL March 13. He reported several people
injured and considerable property damage.

Arkansas SEC J.M. Rowe, N5XFW, reported SKYWARN nets were active as the
severe weather approached. 

In Illinois, Section Manager Sharon Harlan, N9SH, noted that severe storms
rolled across her state March 12. Houses and businesses throughout the
capital city of Springfield were damaged or destroyed, and roads into the
city had to be closed.

The violent weather developed from a line of thunderstorms that stretched
from the southern Plains and into the Ohio valley. Twisters also hit


After several earlier tries, Mississippi this week became the 22nd state to
revise its statutes to incorporate the language of the limited federal
preemption known as PRB-1. Mississippi Gov Haley Barbour signed the bill
March 13, reports ARRL Mississippi Section Manager Malcolm Keown, W5XX.
Echoing the language of PRB-1, the new law calls on localities establishing
ordinances regulating antenna placement, screening or height to "reasonably
accommodate" Amateur Radio communication. The Mississippi measure also takes
note of Amateur Radio's communication support in emergencies and disasters. 

"This legislation supports the Amateur Radio Service in preparing for and
providing emergency communications for the State of Mississippi and local
emergency management agencies," the statute reads. The new PRB-1 provision
became law when Barbour signed it. 

The new law provides that local land use regulation ordinances involving the
placement, screening, or height of amateur radio antenna structures "must
reasonably accommodate amateur communications and must constitute the
minimum practicable regulation to accomplish local authorities' legitimate
purposes" to address health, safety, welfare and aesthetic considerations.
Under the new law, local authorities will determine the types of reasonable
accommodation to be made and the minimum practicable regulation necessary to
address these purposes "within the parameters of the law."

"We now have a Mississippi PRB-1 Law on the books!" Keown exulted in a
message to Mississippi League members. Keown this week called on his
section's members to contact all those involved and thank them for
contributing to the success of the PRB-1 legislation. Similar bills were
introduced this session in the House and Senate, but the House version, HB
736, was the successful measure. The Senate version of the PRB-1
legislation, SB 2709, passed the full Senate but died in committee in the

Keown says efforts have been under way since 2001 to get such legislation
through the Mississippi Legislature. In past years, PRB-1 bills have made it
through one legislative chamber only to die in committee in the other. A
ceremonial signing of the PRB-1 legislation will be scheduled after the
legislative session ends.


Solar swami Tad "I'll Follow the Sun" Cook, K7RA, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Average daily sunspot numbers and solar flux values were down just
slightly this week when compared to last, and the geomagnetic indexes were
up just a bit. We only saw one day with zero sunspots, and there weren't any
really stormy days with high geomagnetic K and A indices.

The prediction for the next few days is a solar flux value of 75, and, in
fact, that continues in Thursday's prediction from the US Air Force for the
next 45 days. The USAF also predicts Sunday, March 19, will be a day of
geomagnetic activity, with a planetary A index projected to reach 20. The
five-day projection for planetary A index from March 17-21 is 8, 8, 20, 15
and 12. This slightly higher activity is based on what was occurring in the
area of the sun that will be facing us this weekend, looking back to
February 19-22 when the planetary A index was 6, 20, 17 and 12.

This projection for geomagnetic activity seems shared this week by
Geophysical Institute Prague, which projects quiet conditions for March 17,
22 and 23, quiet to unsettled for March 18, unsettled for March 20 and 21,
and unsettled to active on March 19.

Sunspot numbers for March 9 through 15 were 12, 12, 0, 18, 14, 34 and 22,
with a mean of 16. 10.7 cm flux was 72.9, 72.2, 74, 73.2, 72.6, 73.6, and
74.2, with a mean of 73.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 12, 12, 6,
3, 4 and 7, with a mean of 6.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 3, 9,
9, 3, 2, 2 and 6, with a mean of 4.9.



* This weekend on the radio: The SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the 10-10
International Mobile Contest, the BARTG Spring RTTY Contest, the Russian DX
Contest, the AGCW VHF/UHF Contest, the CLARA and Family HF Contest, the
Virginia QSO Party, the UBA Spring Contest (6 meters), the 9K 15-Meter
Contest and the Run for the Bacon QRP Contest are the weekend of March
18-19. JUST AHEAD: The CQ WW WPX Contest (SSB), the UBA Spring Contest (2
meters), and the Spring QRP Homebrewer Sprint are the weekend of March
25-26. See the ARRL Contest Branch page <> and
the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration remains open through Sunday, March 19, for these ARRL
Certification and Continuing Education (CCE). Program on-line courses:
Amateur Radio Emergency Communication Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency
Interference (EC-006), Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009), Technician
Licensing (EC-010), Analog Electronics (EC-012) and Digital Electronics
(EC-013). Classes begin Friday, April 7. NOTE: Because Technician Licensing
(EC-010) courses beginning in April are based upon the current question
pool, students completing these April classes should take the FCC Technician
class (Element 2) examination by June 30. A *new* Element 2 question pool
goes into effect July 1. To learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
<> or contact the CCE Department

* AMSAT names Director of Education: AMSAT-NA has named H. Paul Shuch, N6TX,
as its Director of Education. An AMSAT Board of Directors member, Shuch
received his doctorate from the University of California-Berkeley and has an
extensive background in teaching, curriculum development, communications,
and engineering. AMSAT says Shuch's highest priority will be integrated
curriculum development at all educational levels, with an emphasis on using
satellites in the classroom, to enhance the teaching of science, math,
geography, social studies, technology, and the social sciences. "I will
invite all teachers within AMSAT to share with me their current, past, or
planned use of satellites in the classroom, their instructional materials,
and their desires in terms of future curricular development," Shuch said.
AMSAT already participates in the Amateur Radio on the International Space
Station (ARISS) program, which helps to educate about human spaceflight and
offers youngsters a chance to speak with the ISS crew via ham radio. Shuch
says he'll seek ways to encourage ARISS schools and teachers "to take the
next step, with programs to leverage that enthusiasm into an ongoing
interest in math, science and Amateur Radio." Among other initiatives, he
also wants to bring satellite builders and satellite users together in an
educational setting and get satellite developers "fired up about supporting
the classroom use of their creations." 

* CUTESats get OSCAR numbers: AMSAT has issued OSCAR numbers to the CUTE
(CUbical Tokyo Institute of Technology Engineering) satellites. CUTE 1,
launched in June 2003, is Cubesat-OSCAR-55 (CO-55), and CUTE 1.7, launched
in February 2006, is Cubesat-OSCAR-56 (CO-56). CO-56 now is transmitting a
CW signal with housekeeping data. The downlink is 437.385 MHz, and the CW is
about 50 WPM. The satellite's call sign is JQ1YGW. The command team asks
anyone receiving the satellite to report any data collected for further
study <>. The latest
version of the CW telemetry decoder software is available on the Lab for
Space Systems/Tokyo Institute of Technology Web site
<>. More information
on CO-55 and CO-56 is on the CUTE Web site

* NASA honors TV journalist, anchor Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD: NASA has
honored legendary CBS TV news anchor Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, for his
coverage of the US space program. Cronkite, who has narrated two ARRL
Amateur Radio videos, received the Ambassador of Exploration Award February
28. "His marathon, live coverage of the first moon landing brought the
excitement and impact of the historic event into the homes of millions of
Americans and observers around the world," NASA said in announcing the
award. NASA is presenting the Ambassador of Exploration Award to the 38
astronauts and other key individuals who participated in the Mercury,
Gemini, and Apollo space programs for realizing America's vision of space
exploration from 1961 to 1972. Cronkite is the first non-astronaut and only
NASA outsider to receive the award, which consists of a small, encased
sample of lunar material mounted for public display. Cronkite is the
best-remembered journalist for his commentary and enthusiastic coverage of
the historic progression of missions from the early Mercury launches,
through the ground-breaking Gemini missions, to the Apollo 11 and subsequent
moon landings.

* DXCC Desk approves operation for DXCC credit: The ARRL DXCC Desk has
approved this operation for DXCC credit: YI/OM2DX, Iraq, operation
commencing June 9, 2003. For more information, visit the DXCC Web page
<>. "DXCC Frequently Asked Questions" can
answer most questions about the DXCC program. ARRL DX bulletins are
available on the W1AW DX Bulletins page <>.

* Correction: The story "Ohio, North Carolina Youngsters Help ISS Commander
Boost His QSO Record" in The ARRL Letter, Vol 25, No 10 (Mar 10, 2006),
contained some incorrect information. The name of the science teacher at
Country Day School is Jan French.

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;
<>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, 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 <> offers
access to news, informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<> 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: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

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The ARRL Letter

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

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

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.

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