* FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint:
==>AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM PROTECTION ACT NOW IN BOTH HOUSE AND SENATE
AMATEURS RESPOND TO PENNSYLVANIA "BIG CHILL"
==>AMATEUR RADIO HURRICANE CONFERENCE LOOKS AHEAD TO STORMY WEATHER
==>CONCERT PIANIST-HAM'S RUN TO BENEFIT CANCER RESEARCH
The section references International Telecommunication Union (ITU) Resolution 640, which invited administrations to provide for the needs of international disaster communications and for the needs of emergency communications within their national regulations using certain amateur bands. Resolution 640 was deleted at WRC-97, and footnote 5.120 at WRC-2000.
"We do not think this will have an impact on the Amateur Service emergency communications because Sections 97.111(a)(1) and 97.101(c) of our Rules allow amateur stations to communicate with foreign stations in disaster areas, making the provisions based on the former ITU Resolution No. 640 unnecessary," the FCC said in the RO&O in ET Docket 02-16.
Those sections permit transmissions necessary to exchange messages with other stations in the amateur service, unless an administration objects and require control operators at all times and on all frequencies to give priority to stations providing emergency communications.
* FCC cites RV owners in RFI complaint:
The FCC has told an Oregon couple to stop using its Winegard
amplified television antenna (Model Sensar/Roadstar) on their recreational
vehicle "until the condition causing harmful interference has been corrected."
The FCC contacted Jimmy and Jan Bowen of Gresham, regon, following a February
3, RFI complaint from an Amateur Radio operator to the FCC Portland office.
The interference was reported on 447.375 MHz. An FCC agent investigating
the allegation tracked the interfering signal to the Bowen's RV in Portland.
The FCC cited Part 15 rules and noted that certain Winegard antenna amplifiers
"have been the source of radio frequency interference in a number of cases."
Due to the complaints, Winegard <"http://www.winegard.com">
has agreed to replace defective units at no charge. The FCC advised the
couple to contact Winegard to make necessary arrangements.
==>AMATEUR RADIO SPECTRUM PROTECTION ACT NOW IN BOTH
HOUSE AND SENATE
The Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act of 2003 now has been introduced in both chambers of Congress. Idaho Sen Michael Crapo introduced the Senate version of the bill, S 537, on March 6. Original cosponsors were Sen. Daniel Akaka (D-HI) and Sen. Larry Craig (R-ID).Florida Rep Michael
Bilirakis put the latest House version of the bill, HR 713, into the legislative hopper on February 12. The measures, an ARRL initiative, have been introduced twice before in Congress. ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, believes this third time could be the proverbial charm.
"Actually, this is the best opportunity that we've ever
had to get this bill through, because more members of Congress than ever
before are paying attention to ham radio now," said Haynie, who's been
in Washington this week to talk Amateur Radio with lawmakers and regulators.
Haynie pointed out, the House and Senate will be considering major spectrum reform bills, and the Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act could serve as an amendment to that sort of legislation.
HR 713 and S 537 are aimed at ensuring the availability of spectrum to Amateur Radio operators. The legislation would protect existing Amateur Radio spectrum against reallocations to or sharing with other services unless the FCC provides "equivalent replacement spectrum" elsewhere.
Haynie encouraged members of the Amateur Radio community
to contact their senators and representatives to urge their cosponsorship,
which lends support to legislation while it's in committee. The House bill
has been referred to the Committee on Energy and Commerce; the Senate bill
considered by the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee. In addition, although more members of Congress than ever understand and appreciate the benefits of Amateur Radio, some may remain reluctant to sign onto a technical piece of legislation without some indication of support from their own constituents.
"The League is doing all it can, but we know the success or failure will be in the hands of the amateur community," said Haynie, who pledged the ARRL's continuing efforts to get the bill enacted. "Letters and e-mails are the key to getting legislation passed."
A sample letter is available on the ARRL Web site <"http://www.arrl.org/govrelations/arspa.html">. Those writing their lawmakers are asked to copy their correspondence to the League via e-mail <"mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org">. The measures would amend the Communications Act to require the FCC to provide "equivalent replacement spectrum" to Amateur Radio and the Amateur-Satellite Service in the event of a reallocation of primary amateur allocations, any reduction in secondary amateur allocations, or "additional allocations within such bands" that would substantially reduce their utility to amateurs.
The text of HR 713 and S 537 is available (or will soon
be available) via the Thomas Web site <"http://thomas.loc.gov/">.
==>SUPPORT GROWING FOR FAVORABLE 40-METER REALIGNMENT PLANS
With World Radiocommunication Conference 2003 (WRC-03) getting under way in about three months in Geneva, support is growing for two favorable proposals to create a 300-kHz worldwide 40-meter allocation. ARRL and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) seek a return to the 300-kHz allocation that existed worldwide prior to World War II but that now exists only in the Americas. Delegates to WRC-03 will attempt to address--and possibly eliminate--the overlap on 40 meters between amateurs in the Americas (Region 2) and broadcasters elsewhere (Regions 1 and 3).
"There is encouraging news," says ARRL CEO David Sumner, K1ZZ, in his "It Seems to Us . . ." editorial set to appear in April QST. He reports that, thanks to the efforts of IARU volunteers and others, more than 30 countries now have gone on record to support either one or the other of two favorable 40-meter realignment formulas. Sumner said more support is needed, but he called the interim head count "a good start."
Most popular among the half dozen realignment schemes outlined by participants at last November's WRC-03 Conference Preparatory Meeting is so-called Method B. This approach calls for a three-stage transition that would begin by allowing Region 1 and 3 amateurs on 7100-7200 kHz on a secondary basis starting in 2005 and end with all ITU regions gaining access to 7000-7300 kHz by the end of 2009--with the top 100 kHz shared with fixed and mobile stations in Regions 1 and 3. Broadcasters would shift upward to 7300-7550 kHz worldwide.
For US and other Region 2 stations, such a change would mean an end to deafening nighttime phone band QRM from broadcasters and the necessity to operate split-frequency to work stations in Regions 1 and 3 on SSB.
Sumner says Method B is now a European Common Proposal with initial support from 17 CEPT administrations. At least three other countries in Africa, Asia, and the Pacific have also expressed support for Method B, he said. The IARU team now is working to gain the support of additional administrations in Regions 1 and 3 either for Method B or for the similar Method A, Sumner reports. Otherwise identical to Method B, Method A does not include any sharing with fixed and mobile services.
In the Americas, a dozen ITU Region 2 countries last month agreed to support an Inter-American Proposal that's virtually the same as the so-called Method D. Proposed by Canada, Method D would provide 300 kHz worldwide for amateurs by shifting broadcasters in Regions 1 and 3 upward by 200 kHz. Region 2's broadcasting allocation would remain unchanged. IARU Region 2 is now working to expand the list of Region 2 countries supporting that plan.
The US so far has taken no position on the 40-meter realignment
issue, although it has long supported a 300-kHz worldwide, exclusive allocation
for Amateur Radio. The FCC WRC-03 Advisory Committee has recommended that
Method A be a US proposal, but the National Telecommunications and
Information Administration (NTIA) has not yet agreed.
"Acting on behalf of the federal government users of the radio spectrum, the NTIA has been advocating 'no proposal' from the US, a position that the ARRL is working hard to overcome," Sumner points out. "A small number of federal agencies claim to be concerned that their backup circuits on HF would be affected by an upward shift of broadcasters."
Sumner also calls it "unfortunate" that some broadcasters persist in efforts to link the 7 MHz WRC-03 agenda item with another that deals with the adequacy of broadcasting spectrum between 4 and 10 MHz. Sumner said the broadcasting spectrum item is "a separate issue with an entirely different genesis.
==>HAMVENTION HOPES TO CALL HARA ARENA HOME A WHILE
Although 2003 marks the last year of a five-year contract to hold Hamvention at Hara Arena, organizers hope to keep the show there for the indefinite future. Rumors crop up each year--and this has been no exception--that this year's event will be the last to take place at the venerable venue near Dayton, Ohio, that's served as Hamvention's home since 1964. Negotiations on a new contract to retain Hara for future shows remain in the offing. Billed as "the world's largest Amateur Radio gathering and trade show," Hamvention 2003 takes place May 16-18.
"We haven't made any decisions yet," Hamvention Production Manager Garry Matthews, KB8GOL, said this week. "We want to get this year's show under our belt and then renegotiate the contract." At the same time, Matthews said, there are no plans to go elsewhere, nor is Hamvention under any threat or pressure to relocate. "There's nothing planned to move," he said. "But," he conceded, "we've looked at alternative locations in case something happens. Anything could happen to Hara."
Matthews says the sponsoring Dayton Amateur Radio Association has explored several other possible locations for Hamvention, which has quietly dropped "Dayton" from the show's official name. Matthews says no other site in the Greater Dayton area will serve the purpose that Hara does. "None of the other venues will support the show at its current size," he said.
Speaking of size, Hamvention reported that attendance for last year's 50th anniversary event was 24,832--down about 5 percent from 2001's crowd of 26,151. 2002 marked the second year in a row that Hamvention's attendance had dipped.
Attendance climbed to 28,804 in 2000, the year of the ARRL National Convention at Dayton. Matthews has said that any crowd larger than 28,000 starts to push the envelope as far as Hara Arena is concerned--especially the human comfort factor. Hamvention attendance peaked in 1993 at 33,669--before the event date changed from April to May.
As for continued use of Hara Arena, Matthews points out that the building has never been sold, is not for sale now and never has been. As for a new contract with Hara? "We'll evaluate the show after June 1, and we hope to improve some things," he said, without revealing any details.
In the meantime, he's pouring his energy into the arrangements for this year's show, but, he reports, things have been slower to come together in terms of advance sales to visitors and vendors. "If we go to war, people might not want to travel," he said. "There's nothing to panic about, but it's tougher this year."
Some changes already have been announced. Among other things, Hamvention this year will replace its annual banquet and entertainment with a more low-key award winners' reception at Hara Saturday evening.
Between now and show time, Matthews says Hamvention will--among other moves--boost its advertising and promotion to counteract the sluggish advance sales. "We're going to have a good show," he predicted confidently.
For additional insights and information on Hamvention,
see "How Hamvention Happens," in April 2000 QST and available on the ARRL
<"http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2003/03/06/4/0004053.pdf">. For more
information on Hamvention 2003, visit the Hamvention Web site
==>AMATEURS RESPOND TO PENNSYLVANIA "BIG CHILL"
Amateur Radio Emergency Service/Radio Amateur Civil Emergency
Service (ARES/RACES) team members in southern York County, Pennsylvania,
activated March 3 after a natural gas shutdown forced residents to evacuate
their homes to escape winter's chill. Some two dozen amateurs took shifts
assist the American Red Cross, staff the local emergency operations center and provide other necessary communication. ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania Section Manager Eric Olena, WB3FPL, reports that Amateur Radio involvement in the gas emergency ended around midday on March 5.
York County ARRL Emergency Coordinator Kerry Smeltzer, KA3KAR, says the problem, reportedly the result of a regulator failure, cut off the main natural gas supply serving the communities of Red Lion and Dallastown. Estimates vary as to the number of residents directly impacted by the gas failure, but they ran anywhere from 5000 to 10,000. Red Cross "mass care" facilities in two local schools let residents take advantage of heated facilities and hot meals. Smeltzer and his family were among those taking refuge.
In addition to the ARES/RACES teams activated in York County, Smeltzer said, ARES teams in surrounding counties and from nearby Maryland were on standby for the duration in case needed. ARES/RACES used two local VHF repeaters for most communications. Smeltzer said that the Baptist Men's Kitchen was on site to provide meals. The Civil Air Patrol also responded.
==>QUESTION POOL COMMITTEE RELEASES DRAFT ELEMENT 3 SYLLABUS FOR COMMENT
The Question Pool Committee of the National Conference
of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators has released a draft syllabus for the
Element 3 (General) Amateur Radio examination. This syllabus will be used
to develop a new General class question pool that will become effective
July 1, 2004.
The QPC is inviting comments on the document as well as suggested questions for the General-class question pool.
ARRL VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, W9JJ, says comments and questions may include, but are not limited to, such things as new material in terms of technology or operations, topics that might be deleted as no longer relevant and corrections involving grammar, spelling and technical details.
The General class syllabus is an outline of 10 question-topic areas--called "subelements"--from which actual Element 3 examination questions will be developed. These include FCC rules, operating procedures, radio wave propagation, Amateur Radio practices, electrical principles, circuit components, practical circuits, signals and emissions, antennas and feed lines and RF safety.
A question pool based on the revised syllabus will be released later this year. The QPC will invite public input on the General questions once they've been made public. A new Technician class question pool released last November takes effect in the exam room on July 1 of this year.
The draft General (Element 3) syllabus <"http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/gp-syllabus-2004.html"> is available on the ARRL Web site, which also includes all current question pools <"http://www.arrl.org/arrlvec/pools.html">.
QPC Chairman Scotty Neustadter, W4WW, has requested comments
committee by July 15, 2003. The amateur community may e-mail comments to the Question Pool Committee at "mailto:email@example.com".
==>UK TO AK ON 136 kHz
Reaching Alaska from the United Kingdom using just 1 W ERP is quite a feat for any band, but the Radio Society of Great Britain reports that Laurie Mayhead, G3AQC, was heard in Alaska on 136 kHz. In the early hours of February 15, he transmitted to Laurence Howell, GM4DMA/KL1X in Anchorage, and just before UK dawn at 0615 his call sign was clearly identified using software to read the signal.
G3AQC was using QRSS--very slow CW--with a 60-second-long dit. The 7278-km distance is a transmission record for 1 W ERP on 136 kHz.
Two years ago, Mayhead and Larry Kayser, VA3LK, made ham radio history when they completed the first two-way transatlantic exchange on 136 kHz, also using very slow speed CW. Last year G3AQC became the first person to span the Atlantic on 73 kHz.
Howell expressed surprise that the path involved in the latest accomplishment is "notoriously poor" between southeastern Alaska, on the east coast of the Pacific, and Europe. "The signal would theoretically go on a Great Circle route to nearly 80 degrees north, over the northern Canadian Arctic, northern Greenland, east of Iceland, Glasgow, then over the UK to the South Coast--across and through the auroral oval."
He said there's speculation that the actual path might
been around or even under the auroral zone, since there was no auroral
Doppler seen on the received signal. Howell and Mayhead credited research
and preparation carried out by G3NYK, G3LDO, W3EEE and W4DEX, for helping
to set the new
==>ARRL EXPRESSES CONCERNS ABOUT HAM RADIO IMPACT OF 70-CM CHANGES
The ARRL says two FCC-proposed actions could negatively affect Amateur Radio. One would substantially expand the geographical area in the US subject to power limitations on 70 cm. The other would deploy National Weather Service wind-profiler radars in the 448-450 MHz segment.
"The Commission has proposed two actions that have a potentially substantial adverse impact on a large number of Amateur Radio operators in this proceeding," the ARRL said in comments filed this month in ET Docket 02-305. "In each case, the Commission can minimize that impact."
In a Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) late last fall,
the FCC proposed on behalf of the National Telecommunications and Information
Administration (NTIA) to--among other things--more than double the size of
the geographical area in New Mexico and Texas where amateurs in the 420-450 MHz band would be limited in power to protect military radiolocation service operations. Amateur transmitters in certain geographical areas already are limited to 50 W PEP "unless expressly authorized by the FCC after mutual
agreement, on a case-by-case basis" between the FCC district director and the applicable military frequency coordinator--§97.313(f). The NPRM also reflects action by NTIA specifying the operation of federal government wind profilers in the band 448-450 MHz.
Acknowledging that the Amateur Service is secondary to government services in the band, the ARRL nonetheless asked the FCC to ensure that the affected zone in Texas and New Mexico "is minimized as much as possible, consistent with protection of military facilities." The ARRL also requested the FCC to create "a streamlined procedure for case-by-case exemptions" from the power restrictions.
"It is difficult for ARRL to address the contention of the Army that amateur power in excess of 50 W PEP in the additional protected areas requested by the Army would cause interference to military radiolocation facilities involved in missile tracking," the League said in its comments, "because the claim made by the Army is not substantiated by any technical information." The proposed area would include all of New Mexico and all of Texas west of 104 degrees W longitude. The ARRL said it was "not intuitively obvious" that such a large restricted area was necessary.
The ARRL concluded that a 50-W power restriction was "not a substantial burden" on many FM repeater users but that it could mean lowering the outputs of some critical repeaters used for emergency and public service work or taking them off the air altogether. It also could affect so-called weak-signal, experimental and Earth-Moon-Earth operations, the ARRL said. More than five dozen repeaters in the affected region could be affected, the League estimated.
Concerning the wind profilers, the League said it had understood that the National Weather Service--which operates the radars--would notify ARRL of their locations as selected. "Ideally," the League said, "since the amateur repeaters are incumbent in the band now, the National Weather Service should select sites that minimize the effect on those repeaters."
The complete text of the ARRL's comments, the FCC NPRM and other documents are available via the FCC's Electronic Comment Filing System (ECFS) site <"http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/ecfs/">. Click on "Search for Filed Comments" and enter "02-305" in the "Proceeding" field.
==>MICHIGAN PIRATE BROADCASTER BANNED FROM HAM RADIO FOR FIVE YEARS
The FCC has canceled the license of a Michigan Amateur
Radio operator and
told him he may not apply for another ham ticket until 2007. The Commission took the action against Thomas A. Brothers, ex-KI8BE, of Berkley, because he'd been the operator of an unlicensed FM "pirate" radio station.
FCC Special Counsel Riley Hollingsworth wrote Brothers
February 14 to confirm receipt of his amateur license--which Brothers had
surrender. The FCC also had imposed a $10,000 fine against Brothers, who's in his early 20s, but rescinded the forfeiture last December because of Brothers' demonstrated inability to pay. Brothers' Advanced class ticket was cancelled December 5, 2002. He had been licensed since 1997 and formerly held the call sign KC8CRI. Hollingsworth said he requested the five-year reapplication hiatus.
FCC sources say the Commission's Detroit Field Office became aware as early as 1998 that Brothers was operating an FM pirate radio station on 88.3 MHz from his home. On multiple occasions, an FCC agent used direction-finding gear to track the signal to Brothers' residence and sent Brothers Warning Notices ordering him off the air. Brothers ceased the pirate broadcasting in 1998, but by 2000 he was back on the air, and an agent from the Detroit Field Office again traced the broadcast signal to Brothers' home at least twice in 2000 and 2001, following up with Warning Notices.
In January 2002, the FCC issued Brothers a Notice of Apparent
Liability for $10,000 for repeatedly violating Section 301 of the Communications
Act by operating an FM station without a license. In a subsequent Petition
for Reconsideration, Brothers did not dispute that he willfully and repeatedly
has violated Section 301, but he asked the FCC to cancel the fine because--among other factors--of his inability to pay. The Detroit Field Office turned the case over to Hollingsworth late last year to consider sanctions against Brothers' Amateur Radio license.
==>AMATEUR RADIO HURRICANE CONFERENCE LOOKS AHEAD TO STORMY WEATHER
The upcoming 2003 hurricane season was the focus earlier this month as Amateur Radio volunteers, the National Hurricane Center's W4EHW Amateur Radio Group, representatives of the Hurricane Watch Net and emergency officials gathered for the eighth annual Amateur Radio Hurricane Conference. Among the approximately 50 attendees February 1 at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) <"http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/"> in Miami were representatives from the US as well as from throughout the Caribbean.
"The presentations, post-season analysis and discussions are very helpful in preparing for the coming hurricane season," said Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, the NHC's assistant Amateur Radio coordinator.
ARRL Public Service Team Leader Steve Ewald, WV1X, highlighted
the latest news in emergency ommunication training from ARRL through the
Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses
<"http://www.arrl.org/cce/courses.html">. He also explained how the federal Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) grant was expanding opportunities for hams nationwide to take the Level I Amateur Radio Emergency Communications course. Ewald also discussed how the ARRL Field Organization serves as a ready resource during emergencies.
National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio Coordinator John McHugh, KU4GY, and Ripoll organized and led the annual event. Among other things, they brought attendees up to date on the latest news and activities of the 36-member team of Amateur Radio Station W4EHW. The station will adopt a new call sign, WX4NHC, on June 1 at the start of the new hurricane season. Ripoll said the new call sign would give "better on-the-air recognition, as WX is understood to mean weather, and NHC is well-known for National Hurricane Center."
W4EHW celebrates its 23rd year of continuous service this year. Calling upon a staff of trained volunteers, the NHC's amateur station activates during tropical storms or hurricanes and gathers and disseminates real-time, surface-level weather data from hams and other volunteer observers. NHC forecasters use the data and information to develop their forecasts. During the 2002 hurricane season, W4EHW was on the air for more than 140 total hours, gathering over 300 reports via 20 meters (14.325 MHz) and, for the first time, via the Internet Radio Linking Project (IRLP) VHF/UHF repeater network. Hurricane Watch Net Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, told the conference that he expects the HWN to explore the possibility of accepting hurricane reports via EchoLink in the coming season.
Hurricane Hunter aircraft pilot Capt Dave Tennesen, NL7MT, told the conference that he's never without ham radio onboard, and he's been known to occasionally check into the Hurricane Watch Net during his Hurricane Hunter flights. "Ham radio serves as a vital backup link to NHC if other means of communications fail," he said.--information from Julio Ripoll, WD4JR, and Steve Ewald, WV1X
==>CONCERT PIANIST-HAM'S RUN TO BENEFIT CANCER RESEARCH
Combining music, athletics and Amateur Radio to raise
funds and awareness for cancer research, Martin Berkofsky, KC3RE, is set
to run from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Arlington Heights, Illinois, this spring
and summer. An
internationally known concert pianist and music scholar, Berkofsky plans
to celebrate his 60th birthday and his recovery from cancer with the 700-mile "Celebrate Life Run." Along the way, he hopes to contact as many hams as possible on VHF and UHF as he navigates the back roads of the Midwest.
"The plan is to cover 10 miles a day, six days a week," Berkofsky said. "Of course, there will be days of bad weather and stubbed toes, but there is more than sufficient time allowed."
The run starts on his birthday, April 9, at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America Hospital in Tulsa, where he was treated. Berkofsky expects to reach his destination--the headquarters of the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation in Illinois--in late August. He plans to kick off his run with a free piano concert in Tulsa.
Berkofsky said he's obtained a copy of ARRL's TravelPlus for Repeaters CD-ROM to determine the locations of repeaters along his route. He'll raise funds through donations at his three performances and through per-mile sponsorships from groups and individuals. All proceeds from the events go to the Cancer Treatment Research Foundation.
Berkofsky suggested those interested should check the Web site of his Cristofori Foundation < "http://cristoforifund.tripod.com/">. Once the run is under way, Cancer Treatment Centers of America plans to track Berkofsky's progress on its Web site.
Throughout his life, Berkofsky has enjoyed a parallel fascination with electronics and music. A child prodigy at the piano, he was licensed in 1957 at age 14, first as KN3HDW, later K3HDW. Berkofsky has performed, taught and operated from more than 25 countries and is renowned in the music world for his Liszt performances and scholarship.
George Reindel KBØPJK 3/4
Joe Bridis NW9D 3/13
NEMO Club Net Sunday 7:30pm 145.13-
Missouri Traffic Net SSB Daily 5:45pm 3.963 Mhz
President: James Furman KB0QBX
Secretary: Ron Shriver
Editor: Ron Shriver mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
News Letter and web page:
Credit The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League for items marked (*) or (==>)
==>How to Get The ARRL Letter
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* ARRLWeb, "http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/". (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.)