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ARRL Letter


The ARRL Letter
Vol. 22, No. 11
March 14, 2003


* +Hams help save young burn victim
* +FCC beefs up requirements to submit truthful statements
* +Astronaut fits in same-day ham radio chats on both sides of the
* +Will ham radio have to shut down in the event of war?
* +FCC probes Michigan repeater
* +Legislative hearing set on California ham antenna bill
*  Solar Update
     This weekend on the radio
     ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration
     ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Colorado
    +Amateur high-speed Internet link used during shuttle debris recovery
     Florida ARES/RACES groups takes part in simulated plane crash
     Missionary killed in Philippines blast was a ham
     Bill Pierpont, N0HFF, SK
     Digital Communications Conference issues first call for papers
     Space symposium issues call for papers
     New York antenna bill reported out of Senate committee

+Available on ARRL Audio News



Had it not been for quick action on the part of a group of US ham radio
operators, an eight-year-old Honduran girl who was seriously burned late
last month might not be alive today. Larry Strain, N7DF, credits radio
operators and volunteers at the International Health Service clinic in a
remote village in southeastern Honduras and stateside amateurs with making
the dramatic rescue possible.

"The girl was given a good chance of recovering and eventually returning
to her village," said Strain, who at the time of the incident was a
volunteer in Honduras with the International Health Service
<>, a private group of health professionals.
"Without the immediate care and evacuation made possible through the IHS
team and the Amateur Radio operators, her chances of survival would have
been zero."

The rescue began February 24 on an otherwise-routine evening in the remote
Miskito Indian village of Auka. An Indian man arrived at the clinic
seeking help for his young daughter--identified by IHS as Barbiluz
Coper--who had fallen into a cooking fire and suffered some severe burns.
Strain said the clinic's medical staff sprang into action, starting
intravenous fluids and pain medication. Strain, IHS volunteer Lou Linden,
KI5TD/HR3, and Strain's 16-year-old foster son Justin Radford got a
generator running and strung lights.

"Within 20 minutes the girl's burns had been cleaned, medicated and
bandaged and she was resting comfortably, but it was critical that she be
gotten to advanced medical care as soon as possible," Strain said. The
nearest town with medical facilities was 20 minutes away by air, but Auka
had no communication facilities other than ham radio.

Strain quickly got N7DF/HR3 on 40 meters and was able to get a response
from Ed Williams, KN4KL, in Virginia Beach, Virginia, who, in turn,
contacted Ernie Zimmerman, N0GDY, the International Health Service liaison
in Minnesota. N0GDY did not have propagation to Honduras, so Jim Dunbar,
K4PV, in Milton Florida--who had been ragchewing with Williams--telephoned
the IHS administrative office in La Ceiba, Honduras, Strain said. Williams
also called Strain's brother, John, K0HGW, to get him on the air from his
Larry Strain's well-equipped contest station in New Mexico.

With ham radio to coordinate the move, Barbiluz was evacuated via air to
Puerto Lempira--the nearest town with a hospital--and from there to the
capital city of Tegucigalpa, where the University of Honduras medical
center has a burn trauma unit.

"Under normal circumstances," Strain said, "an injury like this would have
gone untreated and the girl forced to die a slow and painful death. Her
chances of survival are now about fifty-fifty." Word was unavailable this
week on the girl's condition.


The FCC has revised its rules to strengthen the requirements for the
submission of truthful statements. The Commission has amended §1.17, which
prohibits written and oral statements of fact that are intentionally
incorrect or misleading. The revised rule also covers written statements
of fact made without reason to believe that a statement is true and

"The new rule is a clearer, more comprehensive, and more focused
articulation of the standards for truthful statements than the old rule,"
the FCC said in a Report and Order released March 10. "The new rule will
also enhance the effectiveness of our enforcement efforts."

The FCC says its amended rule applies to "investigatory and adjudicatory"
matters and to tariff proceedings. It does not apply to general rulemaking
or declaratory ruling proceedings. "The new rule prohibits written and
oral statements of fact that are intentionally incorrect or misleading and
written statements that are made without a reasonable basis for believing
that the statement is correct and not misleading," the FCC said. The FCC
says its old rule, which applied only to written submissions, "was less
precise in defining the standard of care required."

The FCC also broadened the scope of individuals affected beyond applicants
and licensees. The new rule also applies to any person undertaking an
activity that requires Commission authorization, even if the activity is
not authorized, and to any recipient of a citation or a letter of inquiry
from the FCC or who is the subject of a Commission
investigation--including an informal investigation. The revised rule also
applies to anyone expressing interest in a proceeding to amend the FM or
Television Table of Allotments (§73.1015) and to any cable operator or
common carrier (§73.939).

The FCC said it received comments and reply comments from several sources,
including the Federal Communications Bar Association (FCBA). ARRL did not
comment in the proceeding.

"The revised rule would simply enable the Commission to impose sanctions
more effectively in those instances where people intentionally or
negligently submit incorrect or misleading information," the FCC said. The
Commission acted in the proceeding on March 4. Its vote was unanimous.


It was an Amateur Radio two-for-one special March 7 when International
Space Station Science Officer Don Pettit, KD5MDT, spoke with students at
technology-oriented schools in Italy and in Texas. The contacts with NA1SS
on board the ISS were arranged as part of the Amateur Radio on the
International Space Station (ARISS) program.

Questions from students at the Malignani Technical-Industrial High School
(IV3FLG) in Cervignano-del-Friuli, Italy, covered many topics.

"Don Pettit explained that the space station uses a variety of radio
frequencies, from VHF to microwave communication via satellite," reported
ARISS Mentor Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ. "He enjoys taking pictures of different
areas of Earth. He also explained that it takes about eight and a half
minutes to get from the surface of the earth into orbit, and it takes
about another day and a half to reach the space station."

Kofler said the ISS 2-meter downlink signal was "absolutely clear and
loud" for the entire 10-minute QSO, dropping out just as Pettit was
answering the 14th question.

Maurizio Grendene, IV3ZCX, served as operator at the school station. A
team from a local Amateur Radio club set up the necessary antennas as well
as two 23-cm amateur television links with two other area schools in the
area. "This increased the audience from the 100 students at Malignani to a
total of about 600," Kofler said.

A TV station and several newspapers covered the ARISS event, Kofler added.

That same morning, aerospace students in Texas also were able to quiz an
aerospace professional in space via Amateur Radio. Ten sixth, seventh and
eighth graders at Krueger Middle School of Applied Technologies
<> in San Antonio asked two questions
apiece of Pettit via the school's club station, KD5OMG.

"It couldn't have gone better!" exclaimed Coordinating Teacher James
Goslin, KJ5QB. Student Daniel Sheehan described the 10-minute ARISS QSO as
"pretty cool!"

Pettit fielded questions such as, "How do you maintain breathable air?"
and "Once you're done with your solar panels, how much energy will you be
pulling in?" Students also wanted to know what the crew was attempting to
grow in its plant experiments and how they were turning out.

Putting technical issues aside, student Brooklynne Jackson asked the now
almost-inevitable food question: "Does the food taste gross up there?"
Pettit laughed and assured her that the food was "great." He told her that
he was looking forward to his next meal in a couple of hours and that
chili stew was on the menu.

The late-morning QSO was over much too quickly for the students, but
teacher Goslin, who is Krueger's applied radio-satellite communications
teacher, continued the culinary theme by making sure that pizzas, ordered
earlier, were still on the way. Goslin teaches ham radio to five classes
per day, and in the past two years, he's helped 52 students get their ham

Reporters and camera crews from two local television stations covered the
ARISS contact. ARISS is an international program with US participation by
ARRL, AMSAT and NASA.--Peter Kofler, IN3GHZ; Gene Chapline, K5YFL


Some amateurs have been wondering if the FCC will shut down Amateur Radio
in the event that war breaks out in the Middle East. The short answer is

Just prior to the Gulf War, §214.4(b)(4) of Title 47 of the Code of
Federal Regulations was deleted. This section had mandated the closing of
all Amateur Radio stations except Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service
(RACES) stations in the event that the president proclaimed a war or
national emergency. The last time Amateur Radio was shut down was during
World War II, although the FCC continued to give Amateur Radio

While the Amateur Radio Service will not automatically be shut down if the
president invokes the War Powers Act, Amateur Radio licensees must
continue to observe any directives the FCC may issue in the interests of
national security and of making spectrum available for government use.

The FCC is directed to work in coordination with the National
Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) to issue
"appropriate rules, regulations, orders and instructions" for use of the
spectrum "as may be necessary to ensure the effective use of those
portions of the radio spectrum shared by government and non-government
users." Amateurs share most UHF allocations with the US government.


The FCC has ordered a Michigan Amateur Radio repeater to cease operating
under automatic control while the agency's Enforcement Bureau investigates
allegations of various FCC rule violations. FCC Special Counsel Riley
Hollingsworth sent a Warning Notice February 24 to the repeater's
co-owners, Sheri A. Gilbert, K5YHA, and William E. Gilbert, K5EKP, of
Lupton. The repeater now is off the air.

"The Commission is aware of numerous rule violations on the repeater and
of interference caused by the repeater to the K8GER repeater system,"
Hollingsworth said. "Violations on the repeater have consisted of failure
to identify by users, use of false or misleading call signs by users and
failure to have a control operator for the repeater."

Hollingsworth told ARRL that an apparent spur on 144.615 MHz was
interfering with the input of the K8GER system at 144.65 MHz. He said the
Gilberts have notified the FCC that they've shut down their repeater and
are looking into the problem.

The order removing automatic control privileges means a repeater must have
a live control operator present at the machine's control point whenever
it's in operation.

Hollingsworth also said that sometime in January, the couple apparently
turned the operation of the repeater over to a car rally and rule
violations such as he'd described occurred for more than 12 hours during a
two-day period.

"The decision to operate a repeater is a totally voluntarily one.
Repeaters are a convenience in the Amateur Radio Service, not a
necessity," Hollingsworth said, reprising a refrain he's used in dealing
with other repeater cases in recent months.

"You must prevent recurring and deliberate violations on your repeater by
locking rule violators out, using tones, warning users, limiting its
operation or taking whatever steps necessary commensurate with your
responsibility as the licensee of the station," Hollingsworth advised the
Gilberts. The consequences of not heading off violations on the
K5YHA/K5EKP repeater could be fines and even license suspension or
revocation proceedings, he said.

In addition to asking the Gilberts to describe what actions they've taken
to resolve complaints of interference to the K8GER repeater, Hollingsworth
also asked for information on how the repeater identifies and any steps
taken to ensure that users of the repeater properly identify.

He also asked the couple to detail how the repeater was controlled during
the January car rally and to list by name, address and telephone number
any users during that event who did not use call signs.


A legislative committee hearing has been set for March 26 on California's
latest attempt to pass an Amateur Radio antenna bill, Assembly Bill 1228.
The measure, introduced February 21 by Assemblyman Bob Dutton (R-63rd),
has been referred to the Committee on Local Government.

ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, and ARRL staffer and
antenna expert Dean Straw, N6BV, are among those scheduled to testify on
behalf of AB 1228 later this month before the committee.

In 2000, the California Legislature passed a bill incorporating the
essence of the limited federal preemption known as PRB-1, but Gov Gray
Davis vetoed the measure. Davis said at the time that he turned down the
bill, then known as SB-1714, because funds for required studies were not
included in his budget and because he considered amateur antennas "a local
rather than a state issue."

ARRL Southwestern Division Director Art Goddard, W6XD, says AB 1228
addresses Gov Davis' objection to the 2000 bill by eliminating the need
for a study at taxpayer expense. Goddard says the committee also is
addressing concerns already raised by The League of California Cities.

Goddard said he and the late Pacific Division Director Jim Maxwell, W6CF,
were involved in reviving the Amateur Radio antenna bill during the
current legislative session. But he cited Mike Mitchell, W6RW, as "the
sparkplug" of the 2003 PRB-1 bill committee. The committee is composed of
Northern and Southern California hams, since California spans two ARRL

The new bill would incorporate the language of PRB-1 into California's
statutes. AB 1228 would require any ordinance regulating Amateur Radio
antenna structures to not preclude Amateur Radio Service communications,
to "reasonably accommodate" amateur communications, to allow amateur
station antenna structures "at heights and dimensions sufficient to
accommodate Amateur Radio Service communications," and to constitute "the
minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the legitimate purpose of the
city or county."

So far, 16 states have incorporated the essence of PRB-1 into their laws.
An Amateur Radio antenna bill awaits the governor's signature in Utah, and
similar measures are pending in several other states.

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


Propagation prophet Tad "Sunshine Superman" Cook, K7RA, Seattle,
Washington, reports: Average daily solar flux and sunspot numbers were up
again this week. Average daily sunspot numbers, which were up nearly 50
points last week compared to the previous week, rose this week by nearly
70 points compared to last week. Average daily solar flux was up 30 points
last week and more than 7 points this week. Solar flux is expected to
decline to just above 100 from March 20-24, around the time of the solar

There is a large coronal hole responsible for a solar wind stream heading
our way. It could result in some active geomagnetic conditions this
weekend. So far only unsettled conditions are predicted through Sunday,
with planetary A index around 15.

Sunspot numbers for March 6 through 12 were 132, 191, 203, 224, 214, 142
and 109, with a mean of 173.6. The 10.7-cm flux was 150.3, 149.9, 148.3,
152.7, 143.7, 141.5 and 138, with a mean of 146.3. Estimated planetary A
indices were 25, 14, 9, 11, 16, 13 and 9, with a mean of 13.9.

Your editor traded in his K7VVV call sign for a new model, K7RA, which was
issued via the vanity call sign program on March 11. The call sign once
belonged to the late Homer Spence, a close friend.


* This weekend on the radio: The Pesky Texan Armadillo Chase is March 13.
The YLISSB QSO Party (SSB), the 10-10 Mobile Contest, the BARTG Spring
RTTY Contest, the SARL VHF/UHF Contest, the Russian DX Contest, the AGCW
VHF/UHF Contest and the Virginia QSO Party are the weekend of March 15-16.
JUST AHEAD: The Oklahoma QSO Party, the  CLARA and Family HF Contest, the
9K 15-Meter Contest and the Spring QRP Homebrewer Sprint are the weekend
of March 23-24. The CQ World Wide WPX Contest (SSB) is the weekend of
March 29-30. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<> for more info.

* ARRL Certification and Continuing Education course registration:
Registration opens Monday, March 17, 12:01 AM EST (0500 UTC), for the
on-line Level III Emergency Communications course (EC-003). Registration
remains open through the March 22-23 weekend or until all available seats
have been filled--whichever comes first. Class begins Tuesday, April 1.
Registration for this month's Level II class is closed. Thanks to a recent
grant, the $45 registration fee paid upon enrollment will be reimbursed
after successful completion of the emergency communication course. During
this registration period, all emergency communications course seats are
being offered to ARRL members on a first-come, first-served basis.
Registration for HF Digital Communications (EC-005) opens Monday, March
17, 12:01 AM Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC) and remains open through
Sunday, March 23. Class begins Monday, March 24. Registration for Antenna
Modeling (EC-004) remains open through Sunday, March 16. Those interested
in taking an ARRL Certification and Continuing Education (C-CE) course in
the future can sign up to be advised via e-mail in advance of registration
opportunities. Send an e-mail to On the subject line,
indicate the course name or number (eg, EC-00#). In the message body,
provide 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 Emergency Communications Course
Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG,; or Certification and
Continuing Education Program Coordinator Howard Robins, W1HSR,

* ARRL to sponsor emergency communications course seminar in Colorado: The
ARRL will offer a free Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course
(ARECC) seminar Friday, May 30, in conjunction with the 2003 Rocky
Mountain Division Convention in Estes Park, Colorado. The seminar will not
include the Level I course itself. This program is designed to explain in
greater detail the duties of volunteer certification mentors, instructors
and examiners of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses and
provide additional information for those considering these volunteer
positions. The seminar will be held Friday, May 30, from 10 AM to 2 PM in
the Lake Estes Room at the Holiday Inn in Estes Park, Colorado. Seating
may be limited. Contact Dan Miller, K3UFG,; 860-594-0340;
fax 860-594-0259, if you plan to attend. Seminar attendance does not
include admission to the convention. For more information on the 2003
Rocky Mountain Division Convention, visit the convention Web site

* Amateur high-speed Internet link used during shuttle debris recovery:
Amateurs involved in the Texas search for debris from the shuttle Columbia
used a 802.11b high-speed Internet link, using equipment provided by
Michael Willett, KD5MFM. Others involved in the system installation were
Robert Judy, KD5FEE; James McLaughlin, KD5POY; and Tim Lewallen, KD5ING.
The link utilized a mix of directional antennas to provide a robust
connection through the intense radio traffic in the area. The 2.4-GHz
radio cards were set to produce 100 mW of power and utilize direct
sequence spread spectrum encoding. A 24-inch parabolic dish was installed
on one end of the link. On the other end, an 11-element shrouded Cushcraft
antenna was mounted on a temporary mast. Net control utilized the link to
look up call signs and for quick e-mail communication, weather-radar
monitoring and weather tracking. "This application and installation of the
802.11b link was one of many examples demonstrating the extensive
capabilities of volunteer ham operators, government authorities and local
businesses teaming together to help during a crisis event," said Doug
Kilgore, KD5OUG. Pictures of the link as well as other operations are
available on the Richardson Wireless Klub, K5RWK, Web site

* Florida ARES/RACES groups takes part in simulated plane crash exercise:
Seminole County, Florida, ARES/RACES group participated February 25 in a
simulated airplane crash at the Sanford, Florida, airport. "This
simulation is required by the FAA every three years to test local first
responders," said Bud Thompson, N0IA, who adds that the ARES/RACES group
supplied both voice and digital communications. The ham radio group's task
was to provide communications from incident command in the field to and
among the emergency rooms at three local hospitals. The plan was to have
both voice and digital messaging capability at all four locations. Voice
communications utilized both VHF and UHF repeaters. Digital communications
utilized 1200-baud packet. "This was a good test and successful
demonstration of how modern digital messaging works--and it did," Thompson
said. More information is available on the Florida Amateur Digital
Communication Association Web site <>.

* Missionary killed in Philippines blast was a ham: A Southern Baptist
missionary who was among 21 people killed as a result of a terrorist bomb
blast in the Philippines was an avid Amateur Radio operator. Bill Hyde,
KB0KUB, of Cedar Rapids, Iowa, died March 4 in Davao City--the second
largest city in the Philippines. He was 59. Hyde and his wife, Lyn, worked
extensively with the Southern Philippines Baptist Missionary Seminary.
Hyde suffered fatal injuries when he went to retrieve luggage while
picking up fellow missionaries at the Davao City airport. According to
reports, a backpack carrying a bomb exploded. Hyde died shortly afterwards
after surgery for severe head and leg injuries. One of the other
missionaries and her infant son were injured. In addition to his wife, the
couple's sons, Steven and Timothy, survive. A friend, Larry Greene, N7LG,
said Hyde maintained a ham station at the couple's remote outpost because
it was their only reliable means of contact with the rest of the world.
Hyde, a Vietnam veteran and a former music teacher, had served as a
missionary since 1978.

* Bill Pierpont, N0HFF, SK: William G. "Bill" Pierpont, N0HFF, of Wichita,
Kansas, died February 20. He was 88. An ARRL member, Pierpont may be best
known in Amateur Radio circles for having written The Art and Skill of
Radio-Telegraphy, now available in several languages and considered by
some as the definitive guide to radiotelegraphy. The fourth edition,
published by the FISTS CW Club <>, will be available
at Hamvention 2003 in Dayton. The third edition remains available for
download from the Web site of Mike Dinelli, N9BOR,
<>. Although ill with cancer, Pierpont
remained active on the air until March 2002. His brother, Ken, KF4OW, says
Bill Pierpont was licensed at age 15 as W9BLK in 1930, and he enjoyed CW
for much of his on-air activity. His first edition of The Art and Skill of
Radio-Telegraphy came out on computer disk in 1992. Survivors include his
wife, Enid, and a daughter.

* Digital Communications Conference issues first call for papers: TAPR and
ARRL have issued the first call for papers for presentation at the 2003
Digital Communications Conference. The 22nd annual conference will be
September 19-21 at the Marriott Hartford Windsor Hotel near Hartford,
Connecticut. Paper topics could include software defined radio, digital
voice, digital satellite communications, GPS, APRS, DSP, HF digital modes,
Internet interoperability, spread spectrum and 802.11 technologies, using
Linux in Amateur Radio, updates on AX.25 and other wireless-networking
protocols. Presentation at the conference is not required for publication.
The deadline to submit papers for consideration is August 5. Submissions
may be sent either by e-mail or postal mail to Maty Weinberg, KB1EIB,
ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111. The DCC is designed for all levels
of technical experience, not just for the expert, and is meant to be a
weekend of fun and learning for all who have more than a casual interest
in any aspect of amateur digital communications. For more information on
the DCC, visit the TAPR Web site <>.

* Space symposium issues call for papers: The 2003 AMSAT-NA Annual
Symposium has issued a first call for papers to presented at the
conference, set for October 17-19 in Toronto, Ontario. Authors may present
their papers during the symposium or simply offer them for inclusion in
the symposium Proceedings. Subject matter should be of general interest to
Amateur Radio operators involved in satellite communications. Suggested
topics include operating techniques, antenna design and construction,
spacecraft design and construction, current mission status, proposed
satellite missions, and telemetry acquisition and relay. The deadline to
submit abstracts is June 15. Copy-ready papers are due by August 15.
Electronic submittal is preferred in MS-Word format to Wayne Chandler,
VE3WHC <>;.

* New York antenna bill reported out of Senate committee: An e-mail and
letter-writing campaign in New York has resulted in that state's pending
Amateur Radio antenna Senate legislation, S 63, being reported out of the
Senate Local Government Committee March 5. The measure now is on the
Senate calendar for a vote. A parallel bill, A 2662, is pending in the New
York Assembly, where it's in the Assembly Local Government committee. ARRL
Hudson Division Director Frank Fallon, N2FF, and Atlantic Division
Director Bernie Fuller, N3EFN, urge all New York amateurs to let their
state senators know how they feel about the bill. The New York Senate
approved the same legislation last year, but it died in an Assembly
committee. In addition to incorporating the wording of the limited federal
preemption known as PRB-1 into New York statutes, the bill would set a
90-foot statewide minimum regulatory height standard. Contact information
on legislators is available via the New York State Resources on the
Legislature, Assembly and Senate Web site

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,
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or
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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.

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