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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 27, No. 17
May 2, 2008


* + FCC Denies Utah Motorsport Park Use of Amateur Radio Frequencies 
* + Newspaper Reports "BPL plan is dead in Dallas" 
* + Eight Tornadoes Ravage Eastern Virginia 
* + Spring 2008 W1AW Frequency Measuring Test Scheduled for May 
* + ARRL Card Checking at Dayton Hamvention 
* + Ten New Satellites in Orbit 
*   Solar Update
      This Weekend on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
    + Japanese Amateurs Receive More Privileges on 75/80 Meters 
    + VoIP Hurricane Net Looking to Recruit Net Control Operators 
    + No ARRL Audio News on May 16 
      Notes from the DXCC Desk 

+Available on ARRL Audio News <> 

==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<>, then e-mail
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane,


On Thursday, April 24, ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, filed an
Informal Objection with the FCC regarding a pending application for a
Special Temporary Authority (STA) filed by Miller Motorsports Park in
Tooele, Utah. One day after filing the Objection, the FCC agreed with
the ARRL, saying, "Due to the possibility of interference to Amateur
operators and also the race teams utilizing the proposed frequencies, we
feel that it is not in the public interest to grant [Miller Motorsports
Park's] request."

The FCC also advised Miller Motorsports that if they "wish[ed] to pursue
other frequencies, [they] should coordinate with the ARRL and National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA)."

Miller Motorsports requested the use of frequencies 448.525, 448.650,
448.060, 448.290 and 448.610 MHz at 4 W ERP. They proposed to use 100
mobile units on each of these and other channels at or above 450 MHz for
a race event scheduled May 26-June 1, 2008. The application filed by
Miller Motorsports stated that the radios would be used for "security,
medical and maintenance for the entire event" and that communications
service is "vital to the life and safety of the spectators and drivers
of this race event." Miller Motorsports also implied that the NTIA had
approved the use of the 448 MHz channels.

The League's Informal Objection pointed out that "Amateur Radio Service
licensees make extremely heavy use of the band 420-450 MHz, and
especially the segment 440-450 MHz for FM voice repeaters. There are
repeater stations in Salt Lake City, of which Tooele is a close-in
suburb, using frequencies throughout the 448 MHz range for outputs,
including 448.525, 448.625, 448.050 and 448.075 MHz. In addition, there
are repeater outputs in other areas of the greater Salt Lake City area
which are in regular operation at all times of the day or night, and
radio amateurs using mobile stations would be predictably interfered
with by operation as proposed in the STA."

The Objection also stated that there was the possibility that some of
the spectators at Miller Motorsports Park, or otherwise in the area,
might be Amateur Radio operators who might be operating using their
portable transceivers "on the precise channels sought by the STA."

The ARRL called the Miller Motorsports Park choice of channels
"completely inappropriate. The radio amateurs who are licensed to use
these frequencies are under no obligation to either tolerate
interference or to cease their own operation, regardless of the
interference that might be suffered at any time" by Miller Motorsports.

While the FCC has issued STAs on the amateur allocations from time to
time, the ARRL wrote, "many, perhaps a majority, are of no concern to
the ARRL due to the choice of frequency band, duty cycle or power level
proposed," what Miller Motorsports is requesting is "a completely
incompatible and inappropriate use of Amateur Radio allocations." Citing
"harmful interference to and from the Amateur Radio Service on channels
in the 448 MHz band," the ARRL requested that the FCC deny Miller
Motorsports' STA application.


The Dallas Morning News has reported that "an ambitious plan for using
power lines to deliver fast Internet service to 2 million Dallas-area
homes collapsed Thursday." Current Group, LLC has announced plans to
sell its Dallas BPL network to Oncor, a regulated electric distribution
and transmission business, for $90 million. Oncor reportedly has no
plans to offer Internet service but will use the network to detect
distribution network issues
s.ART.State.Edition1.460d413.html>. While Current originally touted the
network as a way to offer Internet service to consumers and had entered
into a marketing arrangement with DirecTV, the Houston Chronicle quotes
Oncor spokesman Chris Schein as confirming that Oncor will use the
network only for monitoring the power grid: "Our business is delivering
electricity, not being an Internet provider or a television provider."

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, observed that "This
announcement underscores yet again that the Bush Administration made a
fundamental error in judgment when it erroneously identified BPL as a
potential 'third wire' delivering broadband to consumers. As the Court
of Appeals for the DC Circuit determined last week
<>, the FCC then
compounded the error by 'cherry-picking' from its staff studies and
ignoring other studies that proved the FCC was underestimating the
interference potential of BPL systems. One can only hope that this
latest marketplace failure of BPL will send a clear message that the
answer to expanding consumer broadband access lies with other, more
promising technologies that do not have such a potential to pollute the
radio spectrum."

ARRL Laboratory Manager Ed Hare, W1RFI, was quick to point out that BPL
was not going away in Dallas. According to Oncor Vice President Jim
Greer, Oncor will use the BPL network to spot grid problems to detect
large power outages before they affect customers. Oncor will not offer
Internet service through the system as Current had originally planned
when they built it.

The ARRL has no issues with BPL as long as it does not cause harmful
interference to the amateur bands. Current's Dallas system is a good
example of that, Hare said, as it is "notched" so as not to interfere
with the Amateur Radio Service: "The Current system in Dallas is
probably not causing interference to ham radio. Their equipment doesn't
use the ham bands. It is also quiet except when in use. For meter
reading and other utility applications, nearby modems may make the
occasional short burst of noise, but not the cacophony of sound we hear
with some other systems. You would probably be able to tell that BPL is
there if you tune outside the ham bands. From an EMC perspective, what
is needed now to complete this progress are regulations and standards
that match BPL's most successful models."

DirecTV customers who get Internet service through Current's network
will probably lose service when the deal goes through. "Oncor is not in
the telecommunications business, and it has no plans to get into the
telecommunications business," said Schein.

Dallas and Houston are the only metropolitan areas in Texas with BPL. In
the past, the City of Austin looked at incorporating a BPL system in
their community, but decided not to do so. In a report
<> on how the
BPL trial it undertook worked for them, the City of Austin summarized
its reasons for that decision.


When tornadoes swept across the state of Virginia on Monday, April 28,
local Amateur Radio operators responded to the call for assistance.
According to Ken Murphy, KI4GEM, Assistant Emergency Coordinator for
Portsmouth, an EF3 tornado touched down in Suffolk, Virginia around 4 PM
local time, plowing its way east into Norfolk, damaging scores of homes,
stores and cars and downing dozens of trees and power lines; Suffolk is
about 20 miles from Norfolk, Virginia. Soon after the tornadoes touched
down, Virginia Governor Timothy M. Kaine declared a State of Emergency
and directed state agencies to take all necessary actions to aid in the
response to widespread damage from the severe weather. About 140 homes
were destroyed, damaged or deemed uninhabitable.

The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed eight tornadoes in
Virginia: City of Suffolk (strong EF3), City of Colonial Heights (EF1),
Brunswick County (EF1), Gloucester County (EF0), Mathews County (EF0),
Halifax County (EF1), Surry County (EF1) and Isle of Wight County (EF1).

"The tornado produced severe damage to many structures, downed large
trees, and destroyed power lines. Approximately 200 injuries were
reported and several homes and businesses were destroyed. There were no
fatalities," Murphy said. Upon spotting the tornado, Murphy placed a
call on the Portsmouth repeater, asking for someone to notify the
National Weather Service and the local EMS. A SKYWARN net was activated
on another repeater; Portsmouth Emergency Coordinator Dave Livingston,
K5SFM, and Bill Farmer, KI4GWC, served as Net control.

"This was an unusual activation in that an ARES AEC from one locality --
Portsmouth -- would not normally be on the scene of a tornado touching
down in another locality -- Suffolk," said ARRL Virginia Section Manager
Carl Clements, W4CAC. "Murphy requested that NWS be notified of the
tornado and that the fire department and emergency teams be notified so
they could respond. The Deputy Fire Chief of the Driver Volunteer Fire
Department (who was the on-scene commander at the time) was concerned
about the number of onlookers entering the disaster area. There were
many power lines down and trees in the roadway and on buildings, as well
as damaged natural gas mains. Some buildings were gone leaving a massive
debris field."

The Driver VFD Chief requested that ARES activate in order to assist the
local teams; 10 members of the Portsmouth ARES group responded. "The
Chief had Murphy assign hams to the roadblocks at the major
intersections to assist the police on the scene with traffic and crowd
control. We also kept the Chief informed of the locations of other
reported funnel clouds. At one point, the Fire Chief on the scene was
advised that one of the team members was tracking the rapidly moving
weather still in the area with the help of APRS," Clements said.

A spokesperson for the City of Suffolk said the area around Sentara
Obici Hospital in Driver (a community within Suffolk) was hardest hit.
The hospital was damaged but still able to treat patients. A
spokesperson for the hospital said about 60 injured people were being
treated there, and he expected most to be released. "We have lots of
cuts and bruises and arm and leg injuries," he said.

Clements said that no further assistance from ARES has been requested.
"All local police, fire, and EMS communications are intact and
functioning. As in any disaster, the Emergency Management Officials are
asking that unless you have a specific assignment from an on-scene
agency (Red Cross, Salvation Army, official search and rescue teams and
the like), please do not just show up at the stricken areas to offer


Capitalizing on the popular and effective automated online results
reporting system developed by Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, for the Frequency
Measuring Test (FMT) <> in November 2007,
W1AW will conduct a spring FMT. This FMT will begin on Wednesday, May 21
at 9:45 PM (EDT) (that's the same as 0145 UTC on May 22), replacing
W1AW's normally scheduled phone bulletin. W1AW Station Manager Joe
Carcia, NJ1Q, recommends that those planning to participate should
listen to W1AW's transmissions prior to the event to determine which
band -- or bands -- will be best for measurement purposes.

In this edition of the FMT, listeners will be asked to measure the
frequency of an audio tone, given an exact frequency for the carrier
signal. The tone will be between 1000-2500 Hz. The carrier frequencies
will be 3990 kHz (LSB), 7290 kHz (LSB), 14290 kHz (USB) and 18160 kHz

Measuring audio frequencies of a modulated signal is a useful skill for
those interested in digital modes. Proper tuning of these signals is
important to obtain the highest quality performance. For non-digital
users, it is also important to understand the relationship between the
frequencies of the modulated signal's sidebands and its carrier. The
techniques for measuring a modulating tone are described in the November
2004 QST in an article
<> on the Frequency
Measuring Test by H. Ward Silver, N0AX. The FMT Web page
<> also has several interesting articles
about measuring on-the-air signal frequencies.

The FMT will start with a general QST call from W1AW at exactly 0145
UTC, transmitted simultaneously on the frequencies listed above. The
test will consist of three 60-second key down transmissions for each
band, followed by a station identification. The test will last for
approximately 15 minutes and will end with station identification. W1AW
will identify before, during and after the transmissions. There are no
plans at this time for a West Coast station.

As in the November 2007 FMT, your report should be submitted via the FMT
Report form on the W1AW FMT Web site <>.
Along with your call sign and e-mail address, enter your most accurate
measurement on each band. There will be a window to list your equipment,
describe the method you used to make the measurements and enter any
Soapbox comments. Participants have 14 days to input their data.
Participants may input their data more than once, although the final
entry will be the one used for the results. W1AW will post the
transmitted frequencies on the FMT Web site following the test. This
will allow participants to quickly determine the accuracy of their
equipment and methods. A complete package of results will be available
via the FMT Web site after the 14-day reporting period is concluded. The
results from the November 2007 FMT are available on the 2007 FMT Results
Web site <>. 


DXCC staff and volunteers will be checking cards at the 2008 Dayton
Hamvention during all hours of operation on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
The Dayton Hamvention is May 16-18 at the Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio.
ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, said, "Many hams travel from all
over the world to attend Hamvention, so card checkers are especially
busy." Card checkers will be checking cards for the following ARRL
awards: DXCC, Worked All States (WAS), VHF/UHF Century Club (VUCC) and
Worked All Continents (WAC). In order to help applicants and the card
checkers through the process to avoid delays and allow the checkers to
serve everyone, Moore offers the following tips:

* There is a 120 card limit per applicant.
* Make sure that cards are in proper order -- band first, then mode.
Applicants should place cards with multiple QSOs at the end.
* The order on the record sheet must match the order of the cards. The
latest forms are on the DXCC Web site
* Have all paperwork completed before coming to the table, and make sure
everything is legible.
* List only those QSOs for which you want credit.
* Applicants planning to do a hybrid application (paper application with
Logbook of The World) should do the LoTW portion just prior to leaving
for Dayton.

Upon Arrival 
* Take a number.
* Stay in line.
* Notify the card checker of anything important before they start
checking cards. The card checker, upon finishing checking the cards,
will review any problem(s) with the applicant.
* Stay with the card checker until completion.
* Vendors may drop off their application to a checker and return later
for pickup.

Upon Completion 
* The card checker will return your cards to you; DXCC staff will not
keep any cards.
* The card checker will advise applicants of the final fees upon
completion of the application.
* Payment is due upon completion of your application. Applicants may pay
for their award in the following ways: Credit Card or Cash (US or Euro
only), Check (from USA bank only), Money Order (US or International).
DXCC will not bill applicants.
* For the latest fee information, please see DXCC Rule 15

Moore advises that, if possible, applicants should bring a copy of their
last credit slip. "Remember," Moore said, "if you are doing a hybrid
application -- LoTW plus cards -- be sure you do the LoTW element prior
to leaving for Hamvention." 

If you have questions concerning the DXCC program, please contact DXCC
desk via e-mail <>;. 


Ten satellites reached orbit April 28 aboard an Indian PSLV-C9 rocket
launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. The primary payloads were
India's CARTOSAT-2A and IMS-1 satellites. In addition to the NLS-5 and
RUBIN-8 satellites, the rocket carried six CubeSat
<> research satellites, all of which communicate
using Amateur Radio frequencies. All spacecraft deployed normally and
appear to be functional at this time. 

The SEEDS satellite was designed and built by students at Japan's Nihon
University. When fully operational, SEEDS will download telemetry in
Morse code and 1200-baud FM AFSK packet radio at 437.485 MHz. The
satellite also has Slow-Scan TV (SSTV) capability. Several stations have
reported receiving SEEDS CW telemetry and the team would appreciate
receiving more reports from amateurs at their ground station Web page

AAUSAT-II <> is the creation of a
student team at Aalborg University in Denmark. It will downlink
scientific telemetry at 437.425 MHz using 1200 or 9600-baud packet. 

Can-X2 <> is a product of
students at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies,
Space Flight Laboratory (UTIAS/SFL). Can-X2 will downlink telemetry at
437.478 MHz using 4 kbps GFSK, but the downlink will be active only when
the satellite is within range of the Toronto ground station. 

Compass-One <> was designed and built by students
at Aachen University of Applied Sciences in Germany. The satellite
features a Morse code telemetry beacon at 437.275 MHz. Compass-1 will
also provide a packet radio data downlink, which will include image
data, at 437.405 MHz.

Cute 1.7 + APDII <>
is a satellite created by students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology.
This satellite will not only provide telemetry, it will also offer a
9600-baud packet store-and-forward message relay with an uplink at
1267.6 MHz and a downlink at 437.475 MHz. 

Delfi-C3 <> was designed and built by students at
Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It includes an SSB/CW
linear transponder. The satellite will be in telemetry-only mode for the
first three months of the mission, after which it will be switched to
transponder mode. Delfi-C3 downlinks 1200-baud packet telemetry at
145.870 MHz. The linear transponder, when activated, will have an uplink
passband from 435.530 to 435.570 MHz and a corresponding downlink
passband from 145.880 to 145.920 MHz.


Tad "To dazzle when the Sun is down, and rob the world of rest" Cook,
K7RA, this week reports: For several weeks we expected today, May 2, to
have active geomagnetic conditions. For instance, if you look at a
forecast from April 23, it shows an expected planetary A index for May
1-3 of 10, 20 and 15. The next day, April 24, this changed to 8, 20 and
15, and on April 25 it was 10, 15 and 15. For May 1, we see the actual
planetary A index for that day was 9, and for the following two days,
the predicted values are 10 and 12, which are much more moderate. So
obviously as we moved closer to this date, the return of a solar wind
stream seemed less likely, although earlier today the planetary K index
rose as high as 4, indicating unsettled to active geomagnetic
conditions. Sunspot numbers for April 24-30 were 11, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0 and 0
with a mean of 1.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 70.4, 69.8, 69, 68.1, 68.5,
68.6 and 67 with a mean of 68.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 18,
8, 10, 10, 11, 8 and 9 with a mean of 10.6. Estimated mid-latitude A
indices were 13, 7, 5, 7, 9, 4 and 4, with a mean of 7. For more
information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical
Information Service Propagation page
<>. To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
page <>. 



* This Weekend on the Radio: This weekend, the NCCC Sprint Ladder is on
May 2. On May 3-4, be on the lookout for the MARAC SSB QSO Party, the
MARAC CW QSO Party, the 10-10 International Spring Contest (CW), the
Microwave Spring Sprint, the 7th Call Area QSO Party, the Portuguese
Navy Day Contest, the Indiana QSO Party, the ARI International DX
Contest and the New England QSO Party. The RSGB 80 Meter Club
Championship (SSB) is May 5. Next weekend, the NCCC Sprint Ladder is May
9 and the Nevada Mustang Roundup is May 9-10. The VK/Trans-Tasman 80
Meter Contest (Phone) and the FISTS Spring Sprint are both on May 10. Be
sure to check out the SBMS 2 GHz and Up WW Club Contest, the EUCW
Fraternizing CW QSO Party, the CQ-M International DX Contest, the VOLTA
WW RTTY Contest and the 50 MHz Spring Sprint on May 10-11. The SKCC
Weekend Sprintathon is on May 11 and the RSGB 80 Meter Club Championship
(Data) is on May 14. All dates listed are UTC. See the ARRL Contest
Branch page <>, the ARRL Contester's Rate
Sheet <> and the WA7BNM Contest
Calendar <> for more

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, May 25, 2008, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, June 6, 2008: Technician License Course (EC-010),
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level 1 (EC-001), Radio Frequency
Interference (EC-006), Antenna Design and Construction (EC-009), Analog
Electronics (EC-012) and Digital Electronics (EC-013). Each online
course has been developed in segments -- learning units with objectives,
informative text, student activities and quizzes. Courses are
interactive, and some include direct communications with a
Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session that may
be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may access the
course at any time of day during the course period, completing lessons
and activities at times convenient for their personal schedule. Mentors
assist students by answering questions, reviewing assignments and
activities, as well as providing helpful feedback. Interaction with
mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no appointed time the
student must be present -- allowing complete flexibility for the student
to work when and where it is convenient. To learn more, visit the CCE
Course Listing page <> or contact
the Continuing Education Program Coordinator <>;.

* Japanese Amateurs Receive More Privileges on 75/80 Meters: Japan's
Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) announced that
Japan's Table of Frequency Allocations and the Japanese Amateur Bandplan
<> have been
amended, giving amateurs in that country more privileges on certain
frequency blocks in the 75/80 meter band. Japanese amateurs are now
allowed to operate the following additional frequencies on the 75/80
meters: 3.599-3.612 MHz, 3.680 to 3.687 MHz, 3.702-3.716 MHz,
3.745-3.747 MHz and 3.754-3.770 MHz. As of April 28, 2008, Japanese
amateurs will have privileges on the following frequencies in the 75/80
meter band: 3.500-3.520 MHz (CW only), 3.520-3.525 MHz (Digital Mode and
CW), 3.525-3.575 MHz (CW and Phone), 3.599-3.612 MHz (CW and Phone),
3.680-3.687 MHz (CW and Phone), 3.702-3.716 MHz (CW and Phone),
3.745-3.770 MHz (CW and Phone) and 3.791-3.805 MHz (CW and Phone). "This
makes it a bit easier for US amateurs to make contacts with Japanese
amateurs, especially in contests, since Japan does not have phone
privileges on the 160 meter band," said ARRL Membership Services Manager
Dave Patton, NN1N. "These new privileges will also make it easier for
DXpeditions to work Japan." -- Information provided by JARL

* VoIP Hurricane Net Looking to Recruit Net Control Operators: The VoIP
Hurricane Net <> is looking for Net Control
Operators (NCOs) to assist with its weekly Hurricane Preparation Net and
during Hurricane Net activations. The VoIP Hurricane Net, created in
2002, is a support net working with WX4NHC
<>, the Amateur Radio station at the
National Hurricane Center (NHC). The VoIP Net Management team is looking
for NCOs from any geographic area to maintain a net for as long as
emergency communications are required before, during and shortly after
hurricanes; this could be up to 24 hours a day and sometimes for several
days. Net Control Operators from the Pacific, Asia, Australia/New
Zealand and other international areas can play a critical role in
assisting net operations during the overnight hours of a North American
activation during their local daytime, providing North American NCOs
rest during their normal overnight hours. Fluent Spanish speakers are
also encouraged to apply to become NCOs in order to further support
operations in South and Central America, Mexico and Puerto Rico. The
VoIP Net Management team will be offering NCO training in the coming
weeks. If you're interested in becoming an NCO, please contact Director
of VoIP Hurricane Net Operations Rob Macedo, KD1CY <>;, or
VoIP Hurricane Net Weekly and Activation Net Control Scheduler Jim
Palmer, KB1KQW <>;. -- Information provided by VoIP
Hurricane Net 

* No ARRL Audio News on May 16: There will be no ARRL Audio News on
Friday, May 16. The ARRL Letter will be released on that day. ARRL Audio
News will return on Friday, May 23.

* Notes from the DXCC Desk: ARRL DXCC Manager Bill Moore, NC1L, reports
that the 2006 and 2007 YA/LY1Y operations in Afghanistan have been
approved for DXCC credit. "If you had cards rejected for this operation,
please send an e-mail <>; to the ARRL DXCC Desk to have your
DXCC record updated," Moore said.

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the
American Radio Relay League: ARRL--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 and general
news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site
<> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
updates. The ARRL Web site <> also offers
informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News
<> is a weekly "ham radio newscast"
compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a
podcast from our Web site.

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/American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
==>ARRL News on the Web: <>
==>ARRL Audio News: <> or call

==>How to Get The ARRL Letter

The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly
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Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved


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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