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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 07
February 14, 2003


* +UTC announces nationwide emergency communications training grant
* +ISS crew digs in for longer stay in space
* +Texas amateurs wind down support for Columbia debris search
* +CITEL countries support harmonized 7-MHz allocation
* +Hollingsworth advocates courtesy, common sense
* +Utah amateur antenna bill headed for governor's desk
* +Revised Amateur Radio Today video now available for downloading
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     Indiana amateur antenna bill advances
     Atlantic Division seeks nominees for annual awards
     ARISS chair begs patience regarding RS0ISS packet system

+Available on ARRL Audio News

NOTE: ARRL Headquarters closed on Presidents' Day: ARRL Headquarters will
be closed Monday, February 17, for the Presidents' Day holiday, and there
will be no W1AW bulletin or code practice transmissions on that day. ARRL
Headquarters will reopen at 8 AM EST Tuesday, February 18.


A generous grant from ARRL corporate partner United Technologies
Corporation (UTC) <> will expand reimbursed Amateur
Radio Emergency Communications Course (ARECC) training to all three
training levels and put the UTC grant program on a national level. The
three-year, $150,000 grant will reimburse the cost of tuition to students
anywhere in the US who successfully complete ARRL's Level I, II and III
Amateur Radio emergency communication courses. An earlier UTC grant
covered Level I and II ARECC training for more than 280 Connecticut

"This grant plays perfectly into the overall plan and scope of emergency
communication for local communities and our nation as a whole," said ARRL
Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG. "This will
allow us to increase the number of seats offered each month for
reimbursable courses." Miller praised UTC's foresight and proactive
approach to community involvement.

ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, said UTC clearly
recognizes the importance of emergency communication. "With this new
grant, UTC has taken a giant step and renewed its commitment to Amateur
Radio, emergency communication and homeland security," she said.

Including the earlier UTC grant and a three-year federal Corporation for
National and Community Service (CNCS) award of some $543,000, the ARRL now
has secured $726,000 for emergency communication training. That training,
Hobart predicted, "will have an impact on every state in the union."

Students successfully completing any level of the on-line Amateur Radio
Emergency Communications classes under the new UTC grant will be eligible
for reimbursement of their $45 registration fee.


The members of the all-ham crew onboard the International Space Station
said this week that while they grieve the loss of the shuttle Columbia
crew, human space exploration must continue and they're ready to spend up
to a year in space if necessary. The ISS crew made its first public
comments since the February 1 shuttle disaster in two news conferences
this week.

"My first reaction was pure shock," Expedition 6 crew commander Ken
Bowersox, KD5JBP, told reporters February 11, when asked about how he felt
when he heard the news that Columbia and her crew were lost. "I was numb
and could not believe that it was happening." During serial briefings
February 12 with CNN, ABC, CBS and NBC, Bowersox and his crew reiterated
their resolve to stay the course, remaining in space for up to a year if

Bowersox said that once it became unlikely that there were any survivors
from the Columbia catastrophe, "we discussed all of the different options
for how it would affect us." He said he was confident that the crew would
have a way to get home. "We've got a Soyuz vehicle parked right outside,"
he said.

Pettit--who had played chess via radio and e-mail with Columbia pilot
Willie McCool during the Columbia STS-107 science mission--said he's hoped
the crew somehow had made it safely to the ground. He said the magnitude
of the tragedy hit him when the ISS crew realized that there were no
survivors. "I'm the type that likes to grieve quietly and in private," he
said February 12.

Budarin said he's comfortable with staying in orbit as long as necessary,
now that NASA has indefinitely grounded the shuttle fleet. The Russian
cosmonaut told a CBS reporter that he has experienced seven months in
orbit before aboard Mir, and that he's hoping for a good landing back on
Earth--whether via the US space shuttle or the Russian Soyuz escape
vehicle that's attached to the space station.

Bowersox said the crew was happy to stay aboard the ISS. "We like it
aboard space station," he said. "We're going to enjoy however many months
we have to stay on orbit." Bowersox said February 12 the crew did not feel
isolated and had plenty of contact with family and friends and that, while
not operating at peak efficiency, the crew members would continue to move
forward with the "serious tasks" ahead of them. "We'll be working through
that grieving process for the rest of the time we're here, I think."

Pettit, the Expedition 6 science officer, said the crew's work schedule
has suffered from the effects of the Columbia tragedy. "But now, it looks
like we'll have plenty of time to finish all that we have remaining on our
task list." he added.

Pettit said that cutting the crew size would hurt scientific research
because the crew would spend a lot more of its time just maintaining the
ISS. But, he pointed out, research into how humans cope physiologically in
space would continue and would make the risk of human spaceflight
worthwhile. "This is a matter where you can decide as a society can decide
to lead the way, step aside or follow," Pettit told NBC News anchorman Tom
Brokaw. Space exploration is "an investment in your future, and, as such,
you can't let a setback stop your exploration activities."

The Expedition 6 crew has been aboard the ISS since November and was
scheduled to return to Earth aboard the shuttle Atlantis in March.
Unmanned Progress cargo rockets, including one that docked February 4, are
providing fuel and supplies. On February 11, the crew used the Progress to
boost the stations' orbit by about six miles (the ISS is approximately 250
miles above Earth). The crew reportedly has sufficient provisions to last
at least until June. A Soyuz taxi crew is scheduled to visit the ISS in
April to drop off a new Soyuz capsule and return the one now attached to
the ISS.

The crew has not used the NA1SS onboard ham station since the last Amateur
Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) school contact in
January. The next scheduled ARISS contact is set for February 21, with
students at Oregon State University.


Ham radio support for the shuttle Columbia debris search and recovery
effort in Nacogdoches and San Augustine counties in Texas wrapped up
February 12. US Forest Service personnel were scheduled to assume the
support role hams had filled in East Texas for nearly two weeks.

"I must say the amateurs were very professional and very dedicated to
assist in any manner," said South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Bob
Ehrhardt, W5ZX. "Even after a day in the bush, they would come back in to
the ops center and say they were ready for another day."

Ehrhardt said the weather often was rainy and cold with some sleet. "The
brambles and briars in the forest did not help," he added. "The agencies
that they worked with were very surprised and pleased with Amateur Radio.
I know that we changed several minds that we could get the job done."

Jim Lawyer, AA5QX, a Dallas-area amateur who'd helped to organize Amateur
Radio search-and-recovery support in Nacogdoches County also expressed his
appreciation. "To all who offered to assist and for those who were able to
serve, thank you for being part of the solution!" he said. In addition to
communication support, hams used GPS and computer mapping software to pin
down and report the locations of debris items as they were sighted.

Nacogdoches County ARES Emergency Coordinator Kenneth Hughes, KK5BE, said
he was "very proud" of the local ARES members who responded to the call
for volunteers. "Twelve days of operation is hard to keep all things going
well," he said.

Kevin Anderson, KD5CCH, of Nacogdoches he was proud of the support East
Texas amateurs were able to provide. "This has been a rather large team
effort," he said. "Under the extremely complicated and sensitive
circumstances in which we have operated, we came together and pulled off a
rather huge task based on the scope of the operations in which we were
called upon to participate and the type of services we were asked to

Lawyer says that preliminary numbers reported February 13 during a
debriefing net in Nacogdoches indicated that 198 amateurs logged in at one
time or another in Nacogdoches County and 148 in San Augustine County.
Lawyer says an estimated 80 percent of the participating amateurs were
from outside the two counties. "It took all of us to make it happen, and
without all of us, it wouldn't have been the success that it was," Lawyer
said. "You have reason to be proud that you are 'amateurs'--those who do
it for the love of it."


A dozen countries in the Americas have agreed to support a proposal for a
"harmonized" 300-kHz amateur band in the vicinity of 7 MHz. The issue of a
uniform worldwide 40-meter allocation is on the agenda of the World
Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03), set to be held in Geneva this
June and July. The US has so far taken no position on the issue.

"It is possible that other countries will sign on when this proposal is
circulated among all 34 member-states of the Inter-American
Telecommunication Commission (CITEL)," said ARRL Technical Relations
Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA. "It takes at least six countries of the
Organization of American States to make an Inter-American Proposal (IAP).
If more countries sign on, the IAP will have greater weight at WRC-03."

Argentina, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela agreed to the
Canadian-sponsored IAP for a 300-kHz amateur band--from 7 to 7.3 MHz--in
all three ITU radio regions. That position is in line with what the
International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) has been calling for.

The support came during a meeting of CITEL's Permanent Consultative
Committee for Radiocommunications (PCC.II-RADIO) Working Group, which is
preparing Inter-American Proposals for WRC-03. PCC.II-Radio met February
3-7 in Orlando, Florida. Fourteen CITEL member states attended the Orlando

Siverling has been chair of so-called Chapter 5 issues for CITEL, leading
up to WRC-03, which he will also attend. Chapter 5 issues include the
Maritime Mobile, Amateur and Amateur-Satellite and Broadcasting services
in the MF and HF bands.

Another matter on the WRC-03 agenda is possible changes to Articles 25, 19
and 1 to the international Radio Regulations. Fifteen
countries--Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican
Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Paraguay, Peru, the
US, Uruguay and Venezuela--signed an IAP favorable to the Amateur Service.
The US signed the IAP but withheld support on two of the 18 specific

Siverling explained that the IAP approved at Orlando conforms with IARU
positions on the three articles. Article 25 covers technical requirements
and operator qualifications, including Morse code proficiency--which could
be left up to individual administrations to require following WRC-03;
Article 19 covers call sign configurations, and Article 1 deals with
issues consequent to any changes to Article 25.

Twelve CITEL countries agreed in Orlando on an IAP to propose a "footnote
allocation" of 135.7-137.8 kHz to amateurs in Region 2. This band is
already available to amateurs in some CEPT countries.

The 136-kHz issue came up as a Canadian proposal to create a secondary
allocation, but the issue is not on the WRC-03 agenda. According to
Siverling, International Telecommunication Union (ITU) member-states want
to eliminate or minimize footnotes in the Radio Regulations. The IAP for a
"footnote allocation" at 136 kHz, however, was seen as a way to get the
issue on the WRC-03 agenda "on an exception basis," he said.

Siverling explained that the CITEL IAP leading to a possible allocation in
Region 2 of the 136-kHz band at WRC-03 has been handled separately from
the pending US amateur LF allocation. Acting on an ARRL request, the FCC
has proposed a domestic (US-only) allocation at 136 kHz on a
non-interference basis. "At some point, the twain will meet," Siverling


FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth told those attending his forum at
the Richmond, Virginia, Frostfest February 9 that Amateur Radio
enforcement still has a long way to go, but that amateurs can do a lot
through peer pressure to head off problems before they become enforcement

"Enforcement is no substitute for courtesy and common sense,"
Hollingsworth declared. "More courtesy would go a long way. Hollingsworth
again suggested that amateurs "operate so that listeners will be impressed
with Amateur Radio," not offended or turned off by it. He said awareness
of Amateur Radio is on the rise in the wake of media attention since
September 11, 2001, and, more recently, with ham radio assistance in the
search for debris from the shuttle Columbia. He pointed to 20 and 75
meters as the current enforcement hot spots as well as the bands where the
least courteous operating practices are found--some of which he described
as "a disgrace" to the Amateur Service.

Off-the-air peer pressure, he said, is an effective tool to provide
guidance to amateurs who may be unaware of how they sound to others on the
air. The reactions of some hams when they confront interference--or
perceived interference--can be worse than the original
interference--whether or not it's deliberate. "Don't overreact,"
Hollingsworth advised. "The best reaction is no reaction whatsoever."

"You have to always be aware of your image and be willing to protect it,"
he told those gathered in the packed forum. "You can't shoot yourself in
the foot." More than 1000 attended the Richmond Frostfest, sponsored by
the Richmond Amateur Telecommunications Society <>.

The use of new technology and on-the-air experimentation also sometimes
brings controversy to the amateur bands, Hollingsworth said, and may
prompt an occasion for the FCC to revisit its current Part 97 Amateur
Service rules. Hollingsworth pointed to the use of so-called "enhanced
SSB," where experimenters have been attempting to achieve full-carrier
AM-like high-fidelity audio in that mode. Hollingsworth said the presence
of the enhanced SSB experimenters has led to complaints to the FCC--as
many as 20 per week--that these signals are taking up excessive bandwidth.

Hollingsworth told his Richmond audience that deliberately operating a
wideband mode in a crowded spectrum is "shortsighted and rude," may be
ignoring the "minimum bandwidth necessary" rule. If its use isn't
accompanied by courtesy and common sense, he said, it will lead to
pressure on the FCC to revise the Amateur Service rules.

The "Emission Standards" section of Part 97--specifically ß97.307(a) and
(b)--requires amateur transmissions to not occupy "more bandwidth than
necessary for the information rate and emission type being transmitted, in
accordance with good amateur practice" and to "not cause splatter" on
adjacent frequencies.

Hollingsworth said the bandwidth of a given signal is not easily
determined by the average amateur transceiver--even one equipped with a
band scope of some sort. He pointed out that the problems with apparent
splatter can be aggravated by the use of a noise blanker on the receiving
end. "Just because it sounds wide doesn't mean it is wide," he said,
adding that he'd prefer the amateur community come up a way to accommodate
such experimentation, because "a government solution will be worse than
the problem."


Less than a month after its introduction, Utah's Amateur Radio antenna
bill is on its way to the desk of Gov Michael Leavitt. The bill
unanimously passed the Utah Senate February 13, 26-0. The measure, HB 79,
was introduced January 20.  It earlier passed the Utah House, 65-8.

"I would like to express appreciation to the many Amateur Radio clubs and
individual Amateur Radio operators throughout Utah who spent many hours
publicizing this bill and ensuring Utah representatives and senators were
contacted about the importance of this bill," said ARRL Utah Section
Manager Mel Parkes, AC7CP. "Once the bill is signed Utah will be come the
17th state to enact PRB-1 legislation."

Sponsored by Rep Neal B. Hendrickson, HB 79, "Regulation of Amateur Radio
Antennas," made it through the house 11 days after getting a favorable
committee recommendation. The Utah Senate Business and Labor Committee
unanimously approved HB 79 and sent it to the Senate floor February 6. HB
79 would prohibit municipalities and counties in Utah from enacting
ordinances that fail to comply with the limited federal preemption known
as PRB-1.

The measure would require that local ordinances involving placement,
screening or height of an Amateur Radio antenna that are based on health,
safety or aesthetics "reasonably accommodate amateur radio communications"
and "represent the minimal practicable regulation to accomplish the
municipality's purpose."

Parkes has credited Mike Davis, KD7FQD, and John Hanson, KI7AR, for
developing the bill and getting Hendrickson to sponsor it.

A copy of the proposed legislation is available on the Utah State
Legislature Web site


An updated Amateur Radio Today video now is available for free downloading
from the ARRL Web site <>. The MPEG-format
file is 70 Mbytes.

Narrated by former CBS News anchorman Walter Cronkite, KB2GSD, Amateur
Radio Today showcases the public service contributions made by hams
throughout the country. Highlights include ham radio's response on
September 11, 2001, ham radio's part in helping various agencies respond
to last year's wildfires in the Western US, and ham radio-in-space
educational initiatives. Directed by Dave Bell, W6AQ, Amateur Radio Today
was written by Alan Kaul, W6RCL. The production team included Bell and
Kaul as well as Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, and Bill Baker, W1BKR. The editor
was Keith Glispie, WA6TFD.

Amateur Radio Today is an ideal presentation for clubs, government
meetings, civic organizations and any other venue where you want to
vividly illustrate what Amateur Radio has to offer the public. The video
runs just six minutes and is available in several formats. The digital
version of Amateur Radio Today is available in MPEG video format, which
can be played by Windows Media Player, Apple QuickTime or RealPlayer
software. It can be run from the CD or copied to your hard drive (not

This copyrighted program is not intended for broadcast use (including
over-the-air, cable or Internet) and may not be reproduced or distributed
without permission. You also can order Amateur Radio Today on CD-ROM and
VHS tape. The CD-ROM version also requires that you have software that can
play MPEG files installed on your computer.


Solar sage Tad "Staring at the Sun" Cook, K7VVV, Seattle, Washington,
reports: Solar flux and sunspot numbers rose this week over last. Average
daily sunspot numbers were up nearly 70 points, and average daily solar
flux rose by more than 11 points. Neither number was rising over the past
few days, and both are expected to continue to decline.

The predicted solar flux for Friday through Monday is 130, 130, 125 and
125. Solar flux is expected to reach a short-term minimum near 115 around
February 21-22, and then reach another peak roughly around March 5-9.
Don't expect high values as in the past few years though. For example,
during this same week last year, the average daily solar flux was nearly
62 points higher--201.8.

For the ARRL International DX Contest (CW) this weekend we could see some
unsettled or perhaps active geomagnetic conditions. The earth should be
inside a solar wind stream flowing from a coronal hole on Friday and
Saturday. But the current prediction is for a planetary A index of only 15
over the weekend. No doubt higher latitude A indices could be higher.

Sunspot numbers for February 6 through 12 were 135, 153, 162, 194, 163,
134 and 119, with a mean of 151.4. The 10.7-cm flux was 149.5, 147.3,
139.2, 141.4, 136.2, 134.9 and 131.6, with a mean of 140. Estimated
planetary A indices were 16, 13, 13, 15, 16, 12 and 12, with a mean of



* This weekend on the radio: The ARRL International DX Contest (CW) and
the YL-OM Contest (SSB) are the weekend of February 15-16. JUST AHEAD: The
CQ 160-Meter Contest (SSB), the REF Contest (SSB), the UBA DX Contest
(CW), the FYBO Winter QRP Field Day, the North American QSO Party (RTTY),
the Russian PSK WW Contest, the High Speed Club CW Contest, the North
Carolina QSO Party and the CQC Winter QSO Party are the weekend of
February 22-23. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration: Thanks
to a new grant from ARRL's corporate partner, United Technologies
Corporation, students successfully completing Level II and Level III
on-line Amateur Radio Emergency Communications classes now are eligible
for reimbursement of their $45 registration fee. Registration for the
grant-sponsored ARRL Level III Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
(EC-003) and for the unsponsored HF Digital Communications (EC-005)
courses opens Monday, February 17, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501
UTC). Senior amateurs are especially encouraged to take advantage of the
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications classes. Registration will remain
open through Sunday, February 23 or until all seats have been filled.
Classes begin Monday, February 24. No seats remain in the February
registration period for the ARRL Level II Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications (EC-002). Registration for the Antenna Modeling (EC-004)
course remains open through Sunday, February 16. A new service now allows
those interested in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education
(C-CE) course in the future to receive advance word of registration
opportunities via e-mail. To take advantage, send an e-mail to On the subject line, include the course name or number
(eg, EC-00#). In the message body, include your name, call sign, e-mail
address, and the month you want to start the course. To learn more, visit
the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page
<> and the C-CE Links found there. For more
information, contact Certification and Continuing Education Program
Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* Indiana amateur antenna bill advances: The latest effort to get an
Amateur Radio antenna bill on the books in the State of Indiana took
another step forward this week. Senate Bill 109 received a "do pass"
recommendation following a hearing and a 5-3 vote February 12 by members
of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee. The measure now goes to the
full Senate. In addition to incorporating the essence of the limited
federal preemption known as PRB-1 into state statutes, the measure would
prohibit localities from restricting the height of an Amateur Radio
antenna to less than 75 feet above ground level. "I expect opposition on
this bill from the Indiana Association of Cities and Towns, and the
Indiana Historical Preservation Society," said ARRL Indiana Section
Manager Jim Sellers, K9ZBM. Sellers was among those speaking in favor of
SB109 at the committee hearing. He told the panel that there is a
patchwork of ordinances across the state regulating various allowable
antenna heights, some of them too low to provide effective communication.
SB109 would provide a uniform standard.

* Atlantic Division seeks nominees for annual awards: The ARRL Atlantic
Division is seeking nominees for its 2003 awards for Amateur of the Year
and Technical Achievement. The Amateur of the Year Award recognizes a ham
in the division whose record merits recognition for outstanding
contributions to the Amateur Radio Service. The Technical Achievement
Award honors amateurs who contribute to the advancement of the radio art
and whose attitude exemplifies the highest dedication to service to others
and to science, rather than self. Groups of two or more Amateurs may be
nominated for a joint award in this category. All nominations must be
received by March 15, 2003. Visit the Atlantic Division Web site
<> to obtain an award nomination
form and additional details. For more information, contact Atlantic
Division Vice Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR,, or write him at
22 Jackson Ave, Bradford, PA 16701.

* ARISS chair begs patience regarding RS0ISS packet system: The chairman
of the Amateur Radio on the International Space Station international
team, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, is asking hams to be patient regarding
resumption of the ISS packet operation. "Over the past few weeks the ARISS
team has received numerous queries as to when the packet system will be
turned back on," Bauer said. "We want to thank you all for your concern in
getting this important capability up and running again." Bauer said ARISS
has been working with NASA and Russian space officials to get the system
operational again, but that the ISS crew has other priorities--especially
in the wake of the Columbia tragedy. Bauer said that given the busy crew
schedule, amateurs should not be surprised if the RS0ISS packet system is
off the air for a bit longer. Once it's operational, he advised amateurs
not to post messages to the crew since the crew has not had the
opportunity to read the mail.

The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the American
Radio Relay League--The National Association For Amateur Radio--225 Main
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259;
<>. Jim Haynie, W5JBP, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential news of
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.

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==>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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