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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter

Volume 19, Number 9
March 3, 2000


+Available on ARRL Audio News


Photo of Ariane 5 Launch

The Phase 3D next-generation Amateur Radio satellite has been tentatively scheduled to launch in late July. The information is included in the "Provisional Ariane Launch Manifest" for February through July of this year that appears in the February edition of the Arianespace newsletter. If the schedule holds, the Phase 3D satellite would be sent aloft on Ariane 507, flight V132. A specific date in July was not available.

The Arianespace manifest identifies the other possible payloads aboard 507 as the PAS-1R or Europe*Star packages and the STRV-1C/1D package.

A launch contract accepting Phase 3D as a payload for the first suitable Ariane 5 launch vehicle was signed last October. The Phase 3D satellite now is at the European Spaceport in Kourou, French Guiana. Phase 3D will be stored in its shipping container, housed in an air-conditioned integration building at the launch complex until launch preparations commence. All systems have been shut down and the batteries left uncharged.

For more information about Phase 3D, visit the AMSAT-NA Web site,


The US Court of Appeals has turned down an appeal from Herbert L. Schoenbohm, KV4FZ, of Kingshill, Virgin Islands, of an FCC decision to not renew his Amateur Radio license. The FCC in 1994 refused to renew Schoenbohm's Amateur Radio license citing his 1992 felony fraud conviction and character issues. Subsequently, the FCC said that Schoenbohm had improperly solicited ex parte contacts with the FCC on his behalf.

Schoenbohm had filed FCC administrative appeals at every step along the way. That avenue came to a dead end in 1998 when the FCC reaffirmed the denial of his renewal application. The agency said that Schoenbohm's fraud conviction, "in combination with" his misrepresentations and lack of candor during the renewal proceedings, justified nonrenewal. The FCC also refused to look into allegations newly raised by Schoenbohm that some of his detractors may have had improper ex parte contact with the Administrative Law Judge in the case.

Schoenbohm appealed the decision to the US Circuit Court for the District of Columbia, contending that the denials of both his renewal application and his petition for reconsideration were arbitrary and capricious agency actions. The case was argued by the FCC's and Schoenbohm's attorneys last October.

On February 29, the Court ruled in favor of the FCC. "We affirm the FCC's refusal to renew Schoenbohm's radio licenses and conclude that we are without jurisdiction to review the rejection of his petition for reconsideration," the ruling said.

"There is nothing unreasonable about the FCC's conclusion that Schoenbohm's felony conviction was relevant to his license renewal," the Court said. The Court asserted that a fraud conviction "plainly calls into question a licensee's ability to act in a manner consonant with FCC regulations."

The Court also agreed with the FCC that Schoenbohm "demonstrated an absence of rehabilitation by making deliberate misrepresentations and displaying a lack of candor during the renewal proceedings." The Court said misrepresentations during the FCC's hearings provided "a rationale for nonrenewal" that went beyond his felony conviction.

It's not known if Schoenbohm intends to appeal to the US Supreme Court. His call sign no longer is in the FCC database, but he's been allowed to continue operating until all appeals are exhausted.


Following some delays because of heavy rain and high winds, the FO0AAA 2000 DXpedition to Clipperton Island got on the air a day late early March 2. But they made up for the late start with some snappy operating, racking up some 14,000 contacts within their first 24 hours on the air. The "triple A" call sign had been kept secret until the team landed, set up, and hit the airwaves. The secrecy was to prevent problems with pirate operations.

As it turned out, FO0AAA started attracting huge pileups as soon as it put out the first call just after midnight Thursday UTC. On 20-meter SSB (14195 kHz), operator John Kennon, N7CQQ, told another station that the team confronted a "monsoon" the day it arrived off Clipperton. "It was really miserable," he said. Even under the best of conditions, landing on the island is considered tricky and potentially dangerous because of the normally high surf conditions.

Clipperton Island, a French possession, is located some 1600 miles south-southeast of San Diego, California, and about the same distance west of Nicaragua. Clipperton is number 36 on the 1999 DXCC Most Wanted List.

Operating from the southwest side of the island, the team is running multiple stations on HF through 6 meters--including the so-called WARC bands. On SSB and CW FO0AAA is working split at all times, usually listening up. Stations seeking to work FO0AAA are advised to avoid calling on the DXpedition's transmitting frequency and to follow the operator's instructions as to where he's listening. The Clipperton team is equipped to have three CW, three SSB and one full-time RTTY position on the air at all times. A list of planned operating frequencies is available on the DXpedition's Web site. The team also will try to use the AO-10, RS-13, UO-14, AO-27, and SO-35 satellites. Operation is scheduled to continue through March 9.

North American DXpedition pilot station Jay Kobelin, W2IJ, says he doubts the Clipperton team will do any contesting during the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) this weekend. "My guess is that they won't, only because it will eat at their Q rate," he said this week, emphasizing that this was "only a guess." Kobelin says the 1992 FO0CI Clipperton team did try some contesting "but we stopped real quick when we saw the Q rate being affected," he said.

QSLs go via N7CQQ. For more information, visit the Clipperton 2000 DXpedition Web Site,


Photo of Martti Laine, OH2BH Martti Laine, OH2BH

Dayton Hamvention has announced the winners of its Amateur of the Year, Technical Excellence, and Special Achievement awards for 2000.

DX luminary Martti Laine, OH2BH, was named Hamvention's Amateur of the Year for 2000. "Martti is well known in the international Amateur Radio community as our number one Ambassador of Good Will," said a statement from Cathi Hoskins, N8ZCQ, who chairs Hamvention's Awards and Banquet Committee. "Martti has been responsible for promoting the activation of new DXCC countries--traveling under difficult and often dangerous conditions to promote the hobby worldwide."

Laine is the only person to have been inducted into the CQ DX Hall of Fame as well as the CQ Contest Hall of Fame. He's also a QST author as well as the subject of many other articles dealing with the DX world.

Among other highly visible DXpeditions, OH2BH pioneered the P51BH operation from North Korea in April 1999. He also was among the operators at the Gaza E44DX operation in February 1999 and the FW8ZZ Wallis Island DXpedition later that year.

Hamvention will present its Technical Excellence Award to H. Paul Shuch, N6TX. Shuch is being honored for his pioneering work in the 1970s in VHF, UHF and microwave receiver design and for his recent design of Amateur Radio astronomy equipment for the 21-cm hydrogen line region.

Shuch, who's executive director of the SETI League, was the ARRL Atlantic Division's 1999 Technical Award winner. A prolific writer, Shuch is the author of more than 200 articles, about half of them in Amateur Radio publications. He's an ARRL Life Member and was the 1996 Dayton Hamvention banquet speaker.

Hamvention will present its Special Achievement Award to former FCC official A. Prose Walker, W4BW. An FCC veteran who headed the FCC's Amateur and Citizens Division from 1971 until 1975, Walker is being honored for his early involvement in obtaining new Amateur Radio allocations. He made an initial proposal for new bands at 10, 18, 24 MHz before an International Amateur Radio Club meeting in Geneva in 1972, and he was one of four members of the US committee that took the initial steps to turn the idea into reality. The Hamvention announcement described Walker as "the guiding force behind the development of the Advisory Committee of Amateur Radio" and served as its first chairman. He also chaired the Amateur Radio Working Group in preparation for the 1979 World Administrative Radio Conference, at which US amateurs obtained the 30, 17, and 12-meter bands. Walker retired from the FCC in 1975 and now lives in New York. He's an ARRL Life Member.

Hamvention this year will host the 2000 ARRL National Convention. The international gathering is May 19-21. The annual awards will be presented during the annual Hamvention Saturday evening banquet on May 20. The FCC's Riley Hollingsworth will be the banquet speaker.


The FCC has told a Michigan ham he could face a revocation hearing if the Commission gets any more reports alleging malicious interference. A Warning Notice went out February 23 to Tech Plus licensee Allen J. Stap Sr, N8OKU, of Bangor, Michigan. In it, FCC Special Counsel for Amateur Radio Enforcement advised Stap that the FCC has received "numerous complaints regarding malicious interference and jamming, apparently originating from your station" to a 2-meter repeater. Hollingsworth said some of the interference to the Kalamazoo Amateur Radio Club's repeater consisted of "sound effects, unidentified transmissions and keying over ongoing communications." The FCC said there was further evidence that the licensee had been harassing repeater users.

Hollingsworth warned Stap that if "legitimate complaints or our monitoring reveal additional instances of this behavior," the FCC intends to designate his station license for a revocation hearing and his operator license for suspension for the remainder of its term.

According to the FCC, Stap pled guilty in a Michigan district court to interfering with the transmission of public safety messages. He was sentenced to nine months probation and ordered to surrender his 2-meter gear for the duration.

Elsewhere, the FCC has requested that Jeffrey G. Guss, KF4MWT, of Palm Bay, Florida, retake the Technician class amateur examination elements by March 30 or lose his license. In 1997, Guss was cited for unlicensed operation on 154.6 MHz, for failing to permit FCC personnel to inspect his radio equipment, and for failing to reply to FCC correspondence. Early last year, the FCC upheld a $2500 fine levied against Guss and denied a payment extension. It's not known if Guss ever paid the forfeiture.

In Salisbury, North Carolina, the FCC wrote Advanced licensees James W. Walls, NC4JW, and Jerry W. Cartner, K4JWC, and Tech Plus licensee James R. Christie, KF4QWR, on February 24, citing information that the licensees have been using ham gear on the Citizens Band and other frequencies. The FCC also alleged they had been selling transmitting equipment that does not meet FCC certification standards over the air on those frequencies and operating above authorized CB power limits. In separate letters, Hollingsworth warned all three that such operation could jeopardize their amateur licenses. The FCC gave the three licensees 20 days to respond to the allegations.


Photo of Bill Kennamer, K5NX Bill Kennamer, K5NX

ARRL Membership Services Manager Bill Kennamer, K5NX (ex-K5FUV) plans to retire from the ARRL Headquarters staff, effective March 28. Kennamer says he plans to return to Fayetteville, Arkansas, to be closer to the rest of his family.

"Bill has made great contributions to the ARRL and particularly to the DXCC program since he joined the staff in 1992, and he will be greatly missed," said ARRL Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, in announcing Kennamer's departure.

Soon after getting his ticket at age 15, Kennamer gravitated first to contesting, then to DXing. A 1968 graduate of the University of Arkansas, Kennamer joined the HQ staff in June 1992 as a DXCC Specialist after a career in the insurance and securities industries and as manager of AGL Electronics in Dallas. He became editor of the "How's DX" column in QST in September 1993 He later became ARRL DXCC Manager.

In addition to editing the DX column, Kennamer penned numerous DX-related articles for QST and an occasional product review. He replaced Chuck Hutchinson, K8CH, as Membership Services Manager in April 1998.

In 1995, Kennamer was among the international group that reopened Myanmar (Burma) to Amateur Radio as part of the XZ1A operation (see "DXing from the Golden Land," QST, Mar 1996).

In addition to his expertise in the DX realm, Kennamer has extensive contesting and QSL Bureau experience. He's been a regular presence--and presenter--at Amateur Radio gatherings around the US and elsewhere in the world, and he enjoys an international reputation as a DXer and contester.

Kennamer said he obtained his newly minted call sign, K5NX, in part to mark the move back to his native Arkansas. His wife, Sandy, is N5LEK. Kennamer said he hopes his wife can obtain his former call sign in the future.


Clearwire Technologies has withdrawn its Petition for Reconsideration asking the FCC to reconsider the revised spread spectrum rules it issued last summer. The new rules became effective November 1. But the company said it "expressly reserves" its position that Part 15 users such as Clearwire are "entitled to seek protection from an Amateur station that operates unlawfully."

Clearwire manufactures high-speed wireless Internet and network access devices operating at 2.4 GHz, where there's an amateur allocation. Fearing possible amateur interference with its Part 15 products, however, Clearwire had wanted the FCC to reconsider portions of its Report and Order.

Calling Clearwire's Petition "frivolous," the ARRL in January called on the FCC to dismiss it and to reaffirm its original Report and Order. The League said none of Clearwire's requests was reasonable and suggested the company had no standing to propose "new, burdensome restrictions" on amateur operation. The ARRL noted that FCC rules do not afford Part 15 devices any protections from interference from licensed services, such as Amateur Radio.

Disagreeing with the ARRL's stance, Clearwire pointed out in its withdrawal letter that while Part 15 devices must accept interference from "authorized" radio stations, "Clearwire does not waive its right to seek relief from unlawful Amateur operation in the future."


Solar activity really took a big jump over the past week. Average solar flux was up almost 57 points from the previous week. Average sunspot numbers were up nearly 66 points. Solar flux peaked on March 1, with a reading of 232.8. Geomagnetic indices were also higher. The peak day for the planetary A index was February 24 when it was 26.

The short-term forecast for this week shows a declining solar flux for March 3-7 of 210, 210, 205, 195 and 190. Solar flux is expected to bottom out near 145 around March 16 or 17, then rise above 200 again after March 23.

Unfortunately, the outlook for the ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) this weekend is not positive, at least in terms of geomagnetic indices. The predicted planetary A index for Friday through Tuesday is 12, 28, 25, 20 and 15. Beyond the weekend geomagnetic conditions should stay quiet until March 22 and 23, then quiet down again until March 31 and April 1.

Contesters this weekend should monitor WWV for updated K indices. If the K index is three or lower, that's a good sign. The solar bulletin broadcast is available by telephone at 303-497-3235.

News from this week spoke of two intense solar flares erupting on March 2.

Sunspot numbers for February 24 through March 1 were 181, 202, 193, 201, 186, 211 and 247 with a mean of 203. The 10.7-cm flux was 192.2 210.4, 214.8, 227.3, 218.8, 219 and 232.8, with a mean of 216.5. The estimated planetary A indices were 26, 18, 12, 10, 12, 6 and 19, with a mean of 14.7.

In Brief:

  • This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (SSB) is the weekend of March 4-5. Just ahead: The QCWA QSO Party, the Wisconsin QSO Party, and the World Wide Locator Contest are the weekend of March 11-12. See March QST, page 100, for more information.

  • League members to vote on QST Cover Plaque Award: Starting with the March 2000 issue of QST, the winner of the QST Cover Plaque award--given to the best article in each issue--will be determined by a vote of ARRL members. Voting will take place on the ARRL Members Only Web site at The vote totals will not be published. Previously, the award was determined by a vote of the ARRL Directors.

  • AMRAD call for papers: The Amateur Radio Research and Development Corporation has issued a call for papers for its Technical Symposium in mid-June in the Washington, DC, area. Papers for the June 17 AMRAD Technical Symposium are welcome on current, future, and retrospective Amateur Radio and telecommunications technology. Subjects of interest include low frequencies (transmitting, receiving, lessons from experiments); digital signal processing/software-defined radios; multimedia (convergence of digital voice, image, data); packet radio/higher speeds/Internet interconnection; spread spectrum (Where do we go from here with new FCC rules?); small amateur satellites (AMRAD-OSCAR-27 and beyond); Amateur Packet Reporting System (APRS); telecommunications for the disabled; and microwaves and millimeter waves (terrestrial/satellite). Deadline to submit is May 27. Papers should be in Microsoft Word or WordPerfect. Send papers to George Lemaster, WB5OYP, Proceedings will be published. The Symposium is June 17 in Falls Church, Virginia. For more information, contact: Paul Rinaldo, W4RI,, or George Lemaster, WB5OYP,

  • Michigan ham club plans first April 15 VE session: The Utica Shelby Emergency Communications Association is planning to be the first to offer amateur exams under the new rules that go into effect April 15. The club says it will begin administering tests "at the stroke of midnight" during a special VE session at the Salvation Army, 55 Church St, Mt Clemens, Michigan. Applicants will be admitted starting an hour before the midnight session gets under way. USECA's Bill Chesney, N8SA, says the radio club will use a clock synchronized with the National Institute of Standards and Technology atomic clock and have a receiver tuned to WWV. "It will be a little like New Year's Eve," Chesney said.--Paul R. Valko, W8KC/USECA

  • Health problems prompt Bob Brown, NM7M, relocation: Because of various health problems, well-known propagation and antenna guru and author Bob Brown, NM7M, has relocated to an assisted living facility. His new address is Bob Brown, Alliance Community Living, 1105 27th Street, Room 110, Anacortes, WA 98221; 360-299-8632;, or call 360-293-3174 and leave a message. Brown says that until he fully recovers from problems with his legs he must use a walker or a cane. He expects to be at his present location indefinitely. Brown says he does not expect to return to the Guemes Island house he shared with his late wife and former ARRL Northwestern Division Director Mary Lou Brown, NM7N. Brown also says the move will curtail his Amateur Radio and ozone research activities.

  • Harry Mead, VK4DHM, SK: It's been learned that well-known member of the DX community, D.H. "Harry" Mead, VK4DHM, of Queensland, Australia, died December 23, 1999, after a period of declining health. A member and supporter of the Oceania DX Group, Mead--perhaps better known from his days as VK2BJL--had made several DXpeditions throughout the Pacific, including Spratly, Tokelau, and Mellish Reef. His last DXpedition was in 1996 to Cocos Keeling as VK9CT. ODXG President Bill Horner, VK4FW, says Mead's ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean on New Year's Day. Horner says he has VK4DHM's log books for any who still need QSLs.


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.

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