Feedline July 1999

Pioneer in participative, interactive journalism.

If Y2K signals an SOS, hams will play key role

New Jersey Online Star Ledger 06/18/99 By Lawrence Ragonese Staff Writer

A technological wonder from the 19th century will be standing by at the dawn of the 21st century to rescue its younger brethren in the event that Y2K bugs disrupt satellite and computer-based communications.

Although emergency officials say the likelihood of widespread phone or computer outages is minimal, they have asked volunteers with the Radio Amateur Civilian Emergency Service, known as "RACES," to be ready to help on New Year's Eve -- just in case.

That means some ham radio operators in New Jersey will be ringing in the new year at police departments, hospitals, nursing homes and county communications centers. In an effort to make the plan work, emergency workers will be holding a series of emergency drills, using various Y2K scenarios and ham operators, across the state in the next several months.

"You could have everything from a big nothing to a disaster," said Bill Peterson, a RACES member in Morris County. "If it's disaster, we'll be ready to communicate that there is a problem. "But one thing we can't do," he said, with a nervous chuckle, "is to solve the problem." Most other counties will have ham operators on standby, ready to use their wireless equipment to report any phone outages or other utility disruptions.

"They need no special power units; they can just sit in their cars," said Rick Loock, Morris County's emergency management coordinator and president of the statewide county emergency management coordinators' group. "If the phones or water supply or natural gas service goes out, they can alert us and the utilities."

Union County, for example, will staff its emergency management center in Westfield. The county's ham operators will be on alert, as part of a plan developed by Freeholder Linda Stender, said Union County Emergency Management Coordinator Ben Laganga.

"We think we're got everything under control, but you can never be too safe," said Morris County Administrator James Rosenberg. "There is some concern that at 12:01 a.m., we could all be sitting there and think everything's great because we're not getting calls of complaint. But maybe that's because the phone system's not working. So we want to be prepared."

Jennifer Hagy, a spokeswoman for the American Radio Relay League, said the Newington, Conn.-based organization is coordinating ham operators nationwide. "This is a real thing. Just in case regular means of communications goes down, hams would be on call," she said. Loock urged major utilities to put representatives at command centers in North, Central and South Jersey, where they can be contacted by ham operators in the event of a computer or switching problem. "Communications have come a long way, but just in case of problems, we can fall back on ham radio," said Kerry McGuinness, a spokeswoman for GPU Energy.

Guglielmo Marconi, an Italian engineer and inventor, hit on the idea of wireless communication in 1894 and conducted many of his experiments in New Jersey, leading to his 1901 transmission of long-wave radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean.

RACES developed during World War II, when the military took over all amateur radio frequencies for use in military applications. But the FCC provided some small groups of frequencies for emergency situations, to be accessed by specially licensed ham operators. They became the first members of what is now known as RACES, which has about 2,000 members in New Jersey. Bob Schroeder, communications officer for the state Office of Emergency Management, said it was logical to turn to ham operators, who have filled the breach in previous disasters. "They work for free, they are available and they are very resourceful," he said.

Maori Win Wireless Rights by Kim Griggs

Wired - 3 July, 1999

The indigenous Maori people of New Zealand own the fish and the forests that grow in their homeland. Now they also own the radio spectrum. A consultative tribunal on Thursday made public its ruling in response to the government's effort to halt a wireless spectrum auction until it could be determined the aboriginal people should receive a cut.

The government wanted to auction a 20-year right to manage the radio spectrum in the 2-gigahertz range, a part of the spectrum sought by wireless broadband service providers. But the decision to sell elicited a claim to the ownership of the spectrum from the New Zealand Maori. Just three days before the bidding for the spectrum was to begin in March, New Zealand Communications Minister Maurice Williamson put the auction on hold for three months in order for the Maori claim to be heard.

New Zealand's founding document, the Treaty of Waitangi, was signed in 1840 when European settlers were flooding into New Zealand. The treaty gave the settlers the right to stay in New Zealand and promised the Maori people that they would continue to own their lands, forests, and fisheries for as long as they wished. It also promised to protect all things valuable to Maori people. Deciding on whether the treaty translates into the 20th century -- and beyond -- has been the Waitangi Tribunal.

The spectrum debate has been divisive: Only two out of the three tribunal members considering the case agreed wholly with the Maori claim. Tribunal members Josie Anderson and Professor Keith Sorrenson recommended that the government "suspend the auction of 2GHz frequencies until such time as it has negotiated with Maori to reserve a fair and equitable portion of the frequencies for Maori."

Judge P.J. Savage, in a minority view, said the auction need not be delayed. But the judge argued that New Zealand must recognize its breach in relation to the Maori language and that "all or a generous portion of the net proceeds of the auction of the 2GHz spectrum be devoted to promoting, developing, and protecting te reo Maori [the Maori language] and Maori culture."

The tribunal's role is only advisory: Minister Williamson does not have to follow its recommendation. However, Maori interests are already arguing that the government must enter into negotiations about the "fair and equitable" division of the spectrum. One advocate for the Maori, Professor Whatarangi Winiata, pointed out that in an earlier claim the allocation of New Zealand's fishing rights was split evenly between the government and Maori. "I think that would be a reasonable position to take, but that has to be the subject of negotiation now."

The report failed to illuminate what might happen to the wireless industry's part of the spectrum, which could deliver such advanced services as wireless high-speed Internet access and digital-video transmission. The big question to our industry is likely to be how long this period of uncertainty is now likely to continue. I think the expectation was that the Waitangi Tribunal would resolve it one way or the other," said Ernie Newman, executive director of the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand. "What it appears to have done now is throw a huge question mark into the arena."

Towers Of Babble Here's the Church, Here's the Steeple,

And Here's the Cellular Phone Antenna

By Bill Broadway Washington Post Staff Writer Saturday, May 15, 1999, contributed by Todd, N2XL

Walker Chapel sits a mile up the hill from Chain Bridge, its New England-style architecture and white exterior accenting the lush greenery and flowering azaleas of an affluent North Arlington neighborhood. In classic form, the church's 90-foot steeple reaches symbolically toward Heaven.

From appearances alone, you wouldn't know of the steeple's secondary role as a telecommunications tower beaming radio waves for digital cellular telephones within a three-mile radius. And that's the idea. Using "stealth construction," wireless companies hook up antennas to existing tall structures - steeples, water towers, high-rises, farm silos--and thereby avoid the ugly displays of soaring ironwork grids.

Churches increasingly have become prime antenna choices for such companies as Bell Atlantic Mobile, AT&T Wireless Services, Cellular One, Sprint PCS and Nextel. Tom Wheeler, president of the Washington-based Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association, said many congregations like tapping this new, easy revenue source, especially during "hard-pressed times for doing the church's mission."

"It's obviously found money," Julian Fore, chairman of Walker Chapel's board of trustees, said of the $1,000 a month the United Methodist church receives from AT&T Wireless. Although not a major part of the church's $340,000 annual budget, it helps. Fore said half the money goes toward maintenance of the historic site, used by Walker Chapel since 1871, and half goes into renovations and other capital improvements on the 40-year-old sanctuary and education building.

Churches also are taking advantage of another trend in the explosive telecommunications industry: the sharing of sites by more than one wireless company. In what may be one of the biggest such deals in the country, Washington National Cathedral receives an estimated $100,000 a year from Motorola, which subcontracts antennas on the cathedral's central and south towers to multiple carriers, according to Wired magazine.

Cathedral spokesman Chris Baumann confirmed the arrangement with Motorola, which dates to the early 1980s. But he declined to comment on the cathedral's leasing fees, saying such information is confidential. In a more recent arrangement, the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore receives "in excess of $3,500 a month" from AT&T and Sprint for antennas installed in the Catholic church's double towers, said Dan Cline, the cathedral's director of operations.

Some churches have become more aggressive in their contract negotiations, bargaining to increase the $1,000-a-month leasing fee that has been common in the industry. Mary Kay Huss, parish administrator for St. Paul's Episcopal Church in downtown Richmond, said her church will receive $2,000 a month from the antennas Sprint finished installing this week.

Huss said the property committee "did a lot of research" before signing the agreement, using information provided by Partners for Sacred places, a nonprofit organization in Philadelphia that advises houses of worship on property use. The contract with Sprint also dictated that no part of the antenna system, including cables, would be visible from the

outside, and it allows St. Paul's to make agreements with additional carriers if it chooses.

Some churches have negotiated playgrounds, computer labs, landscaping, roof replacement, building repairs and other improvements as part of their contracts. In Farmington Hills, a Detroit suburb, construction begins soon on a 100-foot pole topped by a 20-foot cross on property owned by Detroit First Church of the Nazarene. AT&T wanted the site for its antennas, and First Church wanted what essentially is a location marker visible from the nearby interstate. The antennas will be placed in the vertical section of the cross, and more may be added later to the horizontal portion.

In New England, trading antenna locations for steeple restorations on century-old wood has become almost commonplace. One church, Wellesley Congregational Church in Wellesley, Mass., tried to bargain for even more, asking AT&T for $3,000 a month for 20 years and eight free cell phones for clergy and staff. Ultimately AT&T agreed to pay $2,500 month for 10 years, rebuild part of the nine-story steeple and donate

$6,000 a year to the church.

Generally, neighborhoods and zoning commissions have more readily accepted stealth steeple installations than towering metal grid-works. But some communities want nothing to do with any type of radio tower. Last month, for example, Triton PCS, an AT&T affiliate, abandoned plans to build a 120-foot cellular tower behind Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Roanoke. Neighbors complained that microwaves could cause cancer, an argument industry officials challenge with reams of documents. But Triton officials agreed to search for another site because they didn't want to "put the church in an uncomfortable position" with the community, according to the Roanoke Times.

Not all church members believe the church should be in the business of selling itself to business. Huss, of St. Paul's in Richmond, said that some parishioners raised the issue of appropriateness but that others argued that the church readily leases its space to political parties and other groups. The supporters outnumbered the nay-sayers, and the parish soon will have additional funds for its outreach ministries and general operating fund.

No one knows how many churches have been transformed into wireless communications centers, because the selected sites are identified and reported to the FCC by individual carriers only as "existing structures." This is the same designation for apartment buildings and clock towers. But Jim Fryer, publisher of Fryer's Site Guide, says that as many as 500 steeples across the country have been adapted to wireless use. He bases his estimate on surveys of local markets.

What is certain is the soaring demand for wireless products, especially the cell phone but also some laptop and hand-held computers. In 1985, two years after the birth of the wireless telephone industry, there were 91,600 phones in service, according to the Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association. At the end of last year, more than 69 million cell phones were in use.

Washington, the second metropolitan area after Chicago to offer commercial wireless service, today has hundreds of antenna sites, with demand rapidly increasing as more companies compete for the market, local representatives said. Christopher Doherty, spokesman for AT&T Wireless, said AT&T has contracts with fewer than a dozen churches in the Baltimore-Washington area but considers all types of existing structures for antenna sites, depending on location and height.

"We always try to avoid building a tower," he said. Other area churches that have leased their steeples or towers to wireless companies include Grace Evangelical Lutheran Church and National City Christian Church in the District; St. Patrick's Catholic Church in Rockville; Westover Baptist Church in Arlington; and St. Mary's Church in Annapolis.

Wheeler, the telecommunications association president and a member of Dumbarton United Methodist Church, believes the opportunities for churches will continue to increase and that congregations should not wait for wireless companies to approach them. "I would hope that churches would be aggressively looking for this," he said, suggesting that a good way to start is to open up the Yellow Pages to "Cellular" and start making inquiries.

CARY ARC, Minutes for June 24, 1999

Meeting called to order after 6:30 p.m., by Pres. Charles, KE4CDI at the Field Day site - Bond Park. Introductions followed.

Due to the nature of the special meeting, no general business was handled at the meeting. Field Day Czar, Bob, K4HA, assumed the chair. The full time was spent on Field Day planning, which included a walk around the site. Station locations, likely antenna supports (trees)were identified, etc.

The JULY MEETING will move to a week earlier to occur prior the Mid-Summer SWAPFEST, July, 17, 1999!!! Watch the July FEEDLINE for the final determination. W3HL

Yet Another Field Day Excuse

Jonathan Luke Keller was born 6/24/99 at 3:48pm. He weighed 7 lbs. 12 ounces, and was 21 inches long. Mom, baby, and Dad (Jeff, NX9T) are doing well.

Jeff claims to be sorry he missed FD. The family didn't get out of the hospital until noon on Saturday and Jeff didn't think it wise to run off and leave Suzie alone. Probably the right decision Jeff- couches can get uncomfortable.,

Photos of Jonathan can be seen at Jeff's home page "http://members.aol.com/nx9t/. Just go to it then click on Family scrapbook!

History Takes its Leave

from http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/archives/1999/990629.me.html RealAudio Archives

Aubrey Keel, longtime telegraph operator for the Associated Press, died at his home in Kansas City on Friday, June 25. He was 97. This report includes some telegraph traffic. Take a listen! See if you can copy a sounder.

Tower Work Quiz

Q: Why is it not wise to invite a Baptist to help you raise a tower.

A: He'll drink all your beer. Invite two: they'll keep an eye on each other.

Recent Band Openings

Julius Wechter - Died 2-1-1999 - Lung cancer ( Pop ) Born 1935 - Was a member of Herb Alpert's Tijuana Brass *****Dusty Springfield ( Mary Isabel Catherine Bernadette O'Brien ) - Died 3-2-1999 - Breast cancer ( Rock - Soul - Pop ) Born 4-16-1939 in London, England - ****** Charles Sawtelle - The Bluegrass Mystery - Died 3-20-1999 - complications from a bone marrow transplant due to leukemia (Bluegrass - Jazz - Rock) Born 1947 - Was a member of The Drifting Ramblers, Red Knuckles And The Trail Blazers, Hot Rize and Charles Sawtelle And The Whippets. ****** Boxcar Willie (Cecil Travis Martin) - Died 4-12-1999 (Country & Western ) Born 9-1-1931 in Sterre,TX, U.S. ****** Alexander Lee "Skip" Spence - Died 4-16-1999 - Lung cancer- pneumonia ( Rock ) Born 4-18-1946 in Windsor, Ontario, Canada - Was a member of Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape ****** Al Hirt (Alois Maxwell Hirt) (aka Jumbo and Round Mound Of Sound)- Died 4-27-1999 - Liver ailment (Dixie Land Jazz - Pop) Born 11-7-1922 in New Orleans ****** Leon Thomas - Died 5-9-199 - Heart failure due to leukemia ( Blues - Jazz - Kosmigroov ) Born in East St. Louis, Ill, U.S. - Was a member of Santana for two years. ****** Shel Silverstein - Died 5-10-1999 ( Country-Western - Rock ) Born 1932 in Chicago Ill., U.S. (Wrote, "A Boy Named Sue" and "Sylvia's Mother"). ****** William Tucker - Died 5-14-1999 - Suicide ( Industrial Rock ) Was a guitarist for Ministry. ******

Junior Braithwaite - Died 6-2-1999 - Shot ( Reggae ) Born 1952 Was a member of Bob Marley And The Wailers

Courtesy of http://users.efortress.com/doc-rock/deadrock.html.

Next meeting will be held one week early! July 15, 1999 - 7:30 p.m. to review preparations for Swapfest on July 17. The meeting will be at our usual White Plains UMC site.