N1ICS.net News and views from around the world of Amateur Radio

Copyright 2007-2008 Eric K. Germann (N1ICS)

ARRL

First Image from CUTE-1.7 +APD II Satellite

The ground control station at the Tokyo Institute of Technology has downloaded the first color image taken by the CUTE-1.7 +APD II Amateur Radio satellite <http://lss.mes.titech.ac.jp/ssp/cute1.7/howtoreceive_e.html>. The satellite was 620 km above the Earth at 28.905 degrees North and 146.040 degrees East when the image was captured. CUTE-1.7 +APD II was one of several CubeSats carried to orbit this year in April by an Indian PSLV-C9 rocket launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/04/28/10067/?nc=1>. The satellite transmits packet radio data at 9600 baud at 437.475 MHz.

 

 

GERMAN HAM CLAIMS FIRST DXCC ON 432 MHZ

The world of Amateur Radio DXing has passed a new milestone: On Friday, June 6, Jan Bruinier, DL9KR, of Niedernhausen, Germany, worked his 100th country on 432 MHz (70 cm) via moonbounce (EME) and CW.

Samek Zdenek, OK1DFC, and Hofbauer Zdenek, OK3RM, were getting ready to go on an EME DXpedition to Macedonia. Before they left, Samek asked Bruinier to help test out the equipment; Bruinier gave him a beacon, aiming a signal off the moon. According to VHF guru and conductor of QST's "World Above 50 MHz" column Gene Zimmerman, W3ZZ, this is done by transmitting a series of CW dashes and then stopping to listen for the signal to return a little more than a second later. The moon averages 384,000 km from the Earth; radio waves travel at ~300,000 km/sec.

After one of these transmissions, Bruinier was excited to hear Samek appear on frequency with a 549 signal. Thus, after an exchange of calls and reports, Bruinier's 100th country on 432 MHz was in the log. Once his QSL cards are confirmed in the near future, he will become DXCC #1 on 70 cm.

Bruinier's 70 cm EME operations began in 1977. He had followed the exploits of the early EME pioneers in QST, operators like KH6UK, W4HHK, W3GKP and W1FZJ who was conductor of the "World Above 50 Mc" during much of the 1960s. Jan and his family moved to a semirural location in Germany in 1976 where he could put up decent VHF antennas. Working initially on his own, he built an array of 16 ten-element quagis (antennas with single quad loop driven elements and reflectors and 8 Yagi directors) following the design described in QST by Wayne Overbeck, K6YNB (now N6NB). After a few false starts with other tubes, he obtained an Eimac 8938 and built a near-legal limit amplifier. The station exciter was a set of Drake twins as an IF strip using homebrew transverters with an increasingly sensitive group of GaAsFET preamplifiers, always working at the state-of-the-art.

As time progressed, Bruinier built a bigger amplifier capable of running 1500 W continuously to deal with the high duty cycle found in EME operation -- long, slow CW with two minute transmissions at a time -- and receiver systems that yielded noise temperatures of 60 kelvins that could detect 7 dB of noise when he pointed his array into the ground. He eventually transitioned from the quagis to an array of DL6WU design Yagis fed with 1-5/8 inch Heliax, currently having a gain of 28.4 dBd. For comparison, this is slightly more gain than the 28 foot Kennedy parabolic dish has at 432 MHz.

According to Zimmerman, the range of contacts covered by the 70 cm band is less than 1000 km; even under the most enhanced conditions, it is less than double that. "To work the 100 entities needed for DXCC, EME communications are essential. EME is the most demanding form of operation there is in Amateur Radio," he said. "Every single aspect of the station must be optimized: The equipment, the antennas, the feed lines and most particularly, the talent of the operator. Even 1 dB may make the difference between a contact and no contact. Bruinier's achievement was accomplished the old fashioned way -- by dint of hard work, excellent equipment, big antennas and many, many hours on the air
looking for new countries and not missing many, if any, DXpeditions to the many countries where there is no 432 MHz EME activity."

Bruinier told Zimmerman that many people going to many countries on all continents made this award possible: The Five Bells Group, the Yota Sawe Group, Michale Kohla, DL1YMK, and Monica; Bernd Mischlewski, DF2ZC; Mark De Munck, ON5FF (now EA8FF); Bernhard Dobler, DJ5MN; Mart Sakalov, SM0ERR; Dimitris Vittorakis, SV1BTR; Gudmund Wannberg, SM2BYA; Frank Hobelmann, DL8YHR; Joachim Werner, DL9MS, and Allen Katz, K2UYH, among others, as well as groups from Russia, Spain, France and Denmark.

If you would like to read more details about Bruinier's career as an EMEer, please look for his story in his own words in the "World Above 50 MHz" column in the September 2008 issue of QST.

 

 

CALIFORNIA HANDS-FREE LAW TO GO INTO EFFECT JULY 1; HAM RADIO NOT AFFECTED SAYS COUNSEL

A new California hands-free cellular telephone law goes into effect July 1, 2008. It, like many others around the country, prohibits using mobile telephones while driving, unless a hands-free device is utilized. ARRL has received numerous questions about its application to the use of mobile Amateur Radio stations by licensed amateurs. The law, in relevant part, states as follows:

"23123. (a) A person shall not drive a motor vehicle while using a wireless telephone unless that telephone is specifically designed and configured to allow hands-free listening and talking, and is used in that manner while driving."

ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, advises that "The definition of prohibited behavior in California's recent statute does not include a prohibition of operating a mobile, licensed Amateur Radio station while driving, because Amateur Radio transceivers are not telephones. While ARRL cannot guarantee that this statute will not be interpreted by law enforcement officers or the courts of California more broadly than that, it is our view that a fair reading of the statute excludes mobile operation of Amateur Radio equipment by licensed radio amateurs.

"That said, it is obvious that drivers should pay full time and attention to driving. To the extent that operating their amateur stations while mobile is a distraction to them, they should consider, if possible, pulling over safely to the side of the road and conducting their amateur communications while stationary."

ARRL Regulatory Information Manager Dan Henderson, N1ND, adds that while the statute on its face does not apply to Amateur Radio mobile operation, problems could still arise: "Law enforcement officers are not telecommunications experts and may not understand or be concerned about the difference between a cellular telephone and a ham radio. If you do get stopped, be polite and state that you were operating a mobile Amateur Radio transmitter as specifically authorized by the FCC and not a wireless telephone. Don't engage in an argument if the officer issues a citation -- that won't help your cause. If cited, you will need to follow the instructions about contesting the citation in traffic court.

As ARRL General Counsel Imlay notes, the language of the statute does not appear to include amateur mobile operation. Unfortunately, you could have to go through the inconvenience of appearing in court to contest a citation."

ARRL will continue to monitor the application of this statute relative to radio amateurs.

 

 

HAMS READY TO RESPOND TO IOWA FLOODS

News of the flooding in Iowa has been leading the nightly newscasts for days. But according to ARRL Iowa Section Emergency Coordinator Jim Snapp, NA0R, "While flooding here in Iowa is a disastrous event to individuals and business affected, only a very small percentage of Iowa's land mass is directly affected by actual river flooding. Thanks to advance warnings from government agencies, loss of life has been very low." Only one fatality has been reported in the Iowa floods.

Snapp said that Iowa amateurs were active in SKYWARN events over several weeks prior to the start of flooding events. On the morning of June 12, the Iowa State Emergency Operations Center (SEOC) requested activation of the Amateur Radio station in the SEOC (KC0EEC) to provide alternate communications with Linn County EOC (Cedar Rapids area) and Jones County EOC. KC0EEC was manned around the clock, but Snapp said he knows of only one piece of traffic that was passed.

"We have access to the SEOC e-mail program, since that is where we would enter messages coming in by Amateur Radio," Snapp said. "Many, many requests came in and were handled by SEOC staff. Jones County closed their EOC Saturday and the Linn County EOC dismissed the Amateur Radio operations late on Saturday, June 14 and the KC0EEC station was closed."

Snapp said that on June 16, Iowa SEOC requested information on Amateur Radio communication abilities in southeastern Iowa "in case of communication breakdown in that area. Currently, there is no widespread Amateur Radio activity in Iowa dealing with the floods."

About 20 years ago, Snapp said that Iowa installed a fiber optic backbone to all 99 Iowa counties: "This system has been updated and refined over the years, and is very robust redundant system. All the Iowa County Homeland Security and Emergency Management coordinators have e-mail access directly to the Iowa SEOC for requests or to get questions answered."

The Iowa Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency at the SEOC has supplied the amateur community with ham equipment: an HF transceiver, an HF/VHF transceiver and tri-band VHF/UHF and dual band VHF/UHF transceiver. "If the Iowa SEOC needs Amateur Radio communications, they will contact us," Snapp said.

 

 

HAM RADIO VOLUNTEERS PROVIDE SUPPORT DURING SANTA CRUZ FIRE

Ham radio volunteers from Santa Cruz ARES <http://www.ares.santa-cruz.ca.us/> provided a vital layer of communications to support firefighters, law enforcement, Red Cross and even animal control during the Martin fire in the hills above Santa Cruz over Father's Day weekend. As of Tuesday, June 17, the fire, which covered more than 500 acres, was completely contained. Four people were injured in the fire. Three homes were destroyed and another one was damaged, while eight outbuildings burned down. Santa Cruz, home to University of California, Santa Cruz, is a town of about 55,000 people located on the northern edge of Monterey Bay.

During the blaze, ARRL Santa Clara Valley Section Public Information Coordinator Bill Moffitt, AE6GS, said the radios in the Santa Cruz County Emergency Operations Center were "crackling with traffic as hams across the area transferred information, made requests and made sure the various agencies -- from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (CAL FIRE) to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's department -- were kept abreast of the progress in fighting the fire and the needs that arose in the area." Yet, Moffitt said, even with all this going on, "ARES volunteers remained completely professional, ensuring the accuracyand effectiveness of the flow of traffic."

"Our group got some valuable practice during the Summit fire a few weeks ago," said ARRL Santa Cruz County District Emergency Coordinator Cap Pennell, KE6AFE, who manned the radio room in the Santa Cruz EOC. "Our people were much more ready for this fire, and the quality of the response shows." The Summit fire burned more than 4200 acres in both Santa Cruz and Santa Clara Counties, destroying 31 homes and 63 outbuildings. Both the Martin and Summit fires remain under investigation.

Helping to evacuate people in the fire's path was an immediate priority, and the ARES teams facilitated communications between the various agencies who were notifying people about their evacuation status. But pets and livestock, including a multi-hundred pound pig, also needed to be moved from harm's way. That's when Santa Cruz County Animal Control organized volunteers from Equine Evacuation, a local animal evacuation organization, to help transport animals out of the fire zone. Several hams are also members of the group, and with their help, Equine Evacuation safely and efficiently removed more than 50 animals, including horses and other livestock, to safe locations.

"I slept about four hours last night," said Hap Bullard, KQ6YV, as he stood next to his ham radio-equipped pickup hooked up to his empty horse trailer at the staging area for the animal evacuation. Bullard is a ham radio operator who also serves with Equine Evacuation. "I'm here to ensure the animal control people can stay in touch with the Emergency Operations Center, but I'll be going to pick up horses if I'm needed," he said. -- ARRL Santa Clara Valley Section Public Information Coordinator Bill Moffitt, AE6GS

 

 

WEAVER'S WORDS -- Post Webinar Special Edition

+++ Webinar test +++

I will appreciate it if you who had the opportunity to take part in last Saturday's Webinar test will let me know your impression of it.  In particular, do you believe it is a viable method to use to hold on-line and telephone conferences within our Great Lakes Division? Was the form of the conference useful to you? Do you believe it would be useful to other members of the Division?

Please send your comments to k8je@arrl.org.

I apologize for the short timing I gave in notifying you of the Webinar. I became aware of it only several hours before I forwarded notice of it to you.

I want to thanks Atlantic Division Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR for allowing us to piggyback on his Webinar. I believe we will have another opportunity or two to join him in future Webinars before we need to make the decision about buying into this same system for our Division.

+++ You asked +++

A few members asked what is going on that such a fuss is being made over D-Star when it is obviously a product of ICOM and is not open to other equipment makers. They are concerned we should not promote communication systems when the sales only benefit a monopoly.

The answer to this question is fairly simple. D-Star is not a monopoly. It is open for all manufacturers to use.

This digital form of communication was developed through a grant from the Japanese government. The developers were the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL) and ICOM. Once developed, ICOM chose to manufacture gear using this technology. ICOM and JARL have offered the system to other manufacturers; however, none of the others have chosen to use D-Star . . . to this date.

Because of its capabilities, development of D-Star systems has been pursued with vigor by ARES(r) in some Sections of the country. There are hot-spots of great interest in other Sections. D-Star supports voice, digital and other modes.

The fact that ICOM is the only manufacturer that is selling D-Star gear is not necessarily surprising. One marketing strategy of corporations in response to a new, breakthrough product is to wait to enter the market until they are sure the market will support a second manufacturer. Until this has been demonstrated, they wait rather than invest money in products and advertising. I believe we are in the waiting period at this time.

The fact that ICOM currently is the only manufacturer of D-Star equipment is not because ICOM has a monopoly. The D-Star technology is readily available to others to use in making equipment -- when they want to use it.

 

 

Firedrake Jammer on the Loose Again in Asia

Amateur Radio operators throughout the United States have reported hearing an intruder signal -- dubbed Firedrake -- on 20 meters.

ARRL Field and Regulatory Correspondent Chuck Skolaut, K0BOG, said he has received reports from Intruder Watch monitors in Texas, Montana, West Virginia, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Nevada and Pennsylvania hearing the jammer on 14.010 and 14.070 MHz. Hams in IARU Region 1 have heard the jammer on 14.000, 14.005, 14.010, 14.030, 14.050, 14.050 and 14.090; Uli Bihlmayer, DJ9KR, Assistant Monitoring Coordinator for Region 1 (IARUMS) <http://www.iarums-r1.org/> said he has had reports of hearing the jammer on three frequencies at the same time. Skolaut said he heard it on 14.070 at 1500 EDT on June 6 from ARRL HQ, but has not confirmed Firedrake on any other frequencies. "We have reported the jammer to the FCC's High Frequency Direction Finding (HFDF) facility in Columbia, Maryland. They have also heard the jammer and have sent a harmful interference report to the Chinese government," Skolaut said.

The FCC has no authority to make intruder stations outside the US stop transmitting on Amateur Radio frequencies; such situations typically are dealt with through diplomatic channels. "All three IARU regions are coordinating efforts to collect observations and forward them to the proper authorities to follow up on this," Skolaut said. "As you probably remember, this jamming occurred almost two years ago <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2006/08/17/2/> and was primarily heard on 14.260 and 18.160 MHz."

According to Bihlmayer, the jammer (whom Region 1 monitors have dubbed Firedrake) plays oriental-type music (click here to hear what Firedrake sounds like - <http://www.arrl.org/news/files/firedrake.mp3>) and originates from the Chinese government in an attempt to block out the Sound of Hope short wave broadcasts <http://sohnews.com/shortwave-broadcasts/>.

The Sound of Hope refers to itself as "a Chinese language media network providing an alternative to China's state controlled media with news and cultural programming. Radio Free China (RFC) is Sound of Hope's project to reach listeners in Mainland China with programming beyond the control of China's omnipresent blockade of free information." Information on the Intruder Watch program can be found in the June 2007 issue of QST.

 

 

Spring Frequency Measuring Test Results Announced

The results for the W1AW Frequency Measuring Test (FMT) <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/fmt/> held on May 21, 2008 are in <http://www.b4h.net/fmt/fmtresults200805.php>. Announced and reported completely online <http://www.arrl.org/news/stories/2008/04/29/10071/?nc=1>, the spring version of the exercise attracted 81 participants. The object was to measure the frequency of an audio tone, given the frequency of the transmitted signal's carrier. Since digital modes based on frequency-shift keying (FSK) require precise tuning, being able to measure frequency is an important skill.

The actual frequency of the tone was 1240.3 Hz for all of the W1AW transmissions. The majority of the participants reported frequencies within 1-5 Hz of the exact value, a 0.08 to 0.4 percent error. Participants could use a variety of measurement techniques, some of which are described in the November 2004 QST article announcing an FMT with a similar focus <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/fmt/2004/04fmtsilver.pdf>. The online results include detailed descriptions from many stations of the methods and equipment used to make the measurements.

W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, plans to run additional FMT exercises on a regular basis, so watch the ARRL Web Site <http://www.arrl.org> for future announcements. If possible, a West Coast station will be added to future FMTs, improving signal quality for participating stations in that region, particularly on the lower frequency bands. Automated results collection and reporting will be supported for all future FMT events.

 

 

Great Lakes Division Conferencing Test

[Reply only to k8je@arrl.org.]

RE: DIVISION CONFERENCING TEST -- REGULATORY WEBINAR

Dear GLD member,

* Response to poll.
* Invitation to try one conferencing method.
* Let me know your view of the method.

Some 450 members responded to my request concerning interest in holding division conferences electronically. The response was about 20-to-1 in favor of giving this a try. Thanks to all for sharing your thinking.

Thanks to a fellow director, we have an opportunity to try out one form of conferencing. The system involved is the Webinar. It involves logging into a special web site (to receive conference video on your computer screen) and calling into a telephone conference (to receive the voice discussions), Admittedly, the telephone call may involve a toll fee unless you have unlimited long distance service through your provider.

Director Bill Edgar of the Atlantic Division is holding a Webinar this Saturday, June 14. The subject is FCC Amateur Radio Regulations. The leader of the discussion is Dan Henderson, ND1Q the ARRL HQ Regulator guru. You will have the opportunity to have your questions answered.  The time of the Webinar is from 11 AM-12 Noon.

Bill has extra space in the Webinar and has invited members of the GLD to participate. Instructions on doing this are provided, below.  Please be aware that there is a limit to the number of people who can be served in a Webinar; therefore, if you are interested in seeing how this works, you should reserve your space by registering as soon as possible. If you participate, please let me know how you feel about us using this form of conferencing to serve our division.

To participate:

Title: Atlantic Division ARRL Regulatory Webinar

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:
https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/295496463

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Time: 11:00 AM - 12:00 PM EDT

Meet with ARRL's Regulatory Manager, Dan Henderson N1ND, who will present information about the ARRL's regulatory program and what he's been working on.

This webinar/teleconference is for anyone interested in regulatory issues such as ARRL members, clubs members, ARES members, Section Managers, Section Cabinet Staff and everyone else.

This is a free online presentation and teleconference. (The telephone call to the conference center may be a toll call however.)

There will be a question and answer period after the presentation.

System Requirements
PC-based attendees
Required: Windows? 2000, XP Home, XP Pro, 2003 Server, Vista

Macintosh?-based attendees
Required: Mac OS? X 10.3.9 (Panther?) or newer

Space is limited.

Jim Weaver, K8JE, Director
ARRL Great Lakes Division
5065 Bethany Rd.
Mason, OH 45040
E-mail: k8je@arrl.org; Tel.: 513-459-0142
ARRL - The Reason Amateur Radio Is!
Members - The Reason ARRL Is!

--------------------------------------------------------------------
ARRL Great Lakes Division
Director: James Weaver, K8JE
k8je@arrl.org
--------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Hams Head Into Space

On Saturday, May 31, the space shuttle Discovery launched into the heavens carrying a crew of one Japanese and six American astronauts to the International Space Station (ISS); of the seven crew members, two are Amateur Radio operators. NASA's Greg Chamitoff, KD5PKZ, is the ISS Flight Engineer and Science Officer on Expedition 17 and will spend six months living and working onboard the ISS, returning home on Endeavour (STS-126), currently targeted for November 10. Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency's (JAXA) Akihiko Hoshide, KE5DNI, is a mission specialist.

Chamitoff will replace Garrett Reisman, KE5HAE, who arrived on the ISS in March; Reisman will return to Earth when Discovery leaves the ISS. It is expected that the ISS Crew -- Commander Sergei Volkov, RU3DIS; Flight Engineer Oleg Kononenko, RN3DX, and Chamitoff -- will conduct Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) contacts while on the ISS.

This mission, STS-124 -- the 123rd space shuttle flight and 26th shuttle flight to the ISS -- docked with the ISS at 2:03 PM (EDT) on Monday, June 2. Discovery carries with it the second component of JAXA's Kibo laboratory, the Japanese Pressurized Module (JPM). The 37 foot, 32,000 pound JPM will be attached to the left side of the Harmony connecting node by shuttle and station crew members during a series of three spacewalks. The JPM will join the first component of Kibo, the Japanese Logistics Module, which was launched on the last shuttle flight, STS-123 on Endeavour, in March.

Kibo (which means hope in Japanese) is so heavy that only its primary set of avionics systems can be launched inside it. The second set was launched in the logistics module delivered on STS-123 so that it will be available, if needed, when Kibo is activated. "Kibo is just a beautiful piece of work," said lead shuttle flight director Matt Abbott. "I know the Japanese space agency had an element installed on STS-123, but this is really their pride and joy. This module is amazing."

"It's going to be a world-class laboratory," said astronaut Mark Kelly, Discovery's commander. "It's its own little spacecraft, in the sense that it has an environmental system, electrical system, its own computer system, its own robotic arm. It's got a lot of capability, and I'm hopeful that over the years that the laboratory produces significant discoveries in the fields of chemistry, physics, material science and life sciences. It certainly has that potential." The Kibo laboratory complex includes two robotic arms that also will be delivered on Discovery. A third and final shuttle mission to complete the complex will launch an exterior platform for the Kibo laboratory complex that will allow experiments to be exposed to space.

On Earth, STS-124 will mark the first time the JAXA flight control team will activate and control a module from Kibo Mission Control in Tsukuba, Japan. JAXA is scheduled to take over final activation of Kibo on the fifth day of STS-124, the day after the module is installed. "That's a big day for Japan," Hoshide said. "We'll be doing vestibule outfitting, which is basically hooking up all the jumper connections between Node 2 and the pressurized module for power signals, data cables, fluid lines, all that stuff. Once that's done we will be activating the main computer in the pressurized module from our laptop computer inside the station - we call that the initial activation. "Then, once the computer's activated, the Mission Control Center in Tsukuba Space Center can start commanding, so we'll hand it over to them. They will start doing the final activation of the module."

In addition to Kelly, Hoshide and Chamitoff, the STS-124 crew consists of Pilot Ken Ham and Mission Specialists Karen Nyberg, Ron Garan and Mike Fossum. Discovery is due back to Earth on Saturday, June 14 at 10:45 AM (EDT) at Kennedy Space Center's Shuttle Landing Facility. -- Information provided by NASA

 

 

ARRL Files Comments in Two Matters Before FCC

On Tuesday, May 27, ARRL filed electronic comments concerning two matters that the FCC has under consideration. The first set of comments concerns a company that filed a request for a waiver of Part 90 of the FCC rules; ReconRobotics, an electronics manufacturer, wishes to sell, and for its public safety customers to use, a robotic device that operates in the 430-448 MHz band. The primary allocation in that portion of the spectrum is United States government radiolocation (military radars). The Amateur Service has an allocation on a secondary basis. The second matter deals with GE Healthcare and their request for allocation of spectrum (as a secondary user) in the 2300 MHz band; the Amateur Service has a primary allocation in a portion of the requested band.

On January 11, 2008, ReconRobotics filed a request with the FCC for a waiver of Part 90 of the Commission's Rules with respect to the Recon Scout, a remote-controlled, maneuverable surveillance robot designed for use in areas that may be too hazardous for human entry. This device can be thrown, dropped or launched into hazardous areas and can provide an operator located a safe distance away with video and audio, along with infrared, biological, chemical, heat, radiation or other data. According to the FCC, ReconRobotics seeks a waiver to permit equipment authorization of the Recon Scout, and its use by state and local law enforcement and firefighting agencies and by security personnel in critical infrastructure industries.

The FCC said a waiver is required to permit licensing of the Recon Scout because "the device operates in the 430-448 MHz band." ReconRobotics asserts that because the Recon Scout operates with 1 W peak power, it is "unlikely to cause interference to these services."

The ARRL contends that "Because [this device] operates on a channelized basis, each of the three channels being six megahertz wide, the necessary bandwidth of the device is apparently close to 6 MHz. [ReconRobotics] asks that it be granted an unspecified series of permanent waivers to allow the marketing and sale to, and use of this device by law enforcement and fire department personnel for public safety applications. The Amateur Service, which has a heavily occupied, secondary allocation in the 420-450 MHz band...would be potentially substantially impacted by grant of these waivers."

The ARRL's comments also state that ReconRobotics "fails to establish that the 420-450 MHz band is the only viable choice and that no other band would be suitable; an obligation of the Petitioner in order to entitle it to a waiver." In requesting the waiver, ARRL asserts that ReconRobotics only claimed, but did not show, prove or demonstrate, that other bands were not suitable for its purposes. In other cases before the FCC as recent as 2006, the Commission denied such waivers, saying, "We do not believe that the public interest requires grant of a waiver merely to accommodate a manufacturer's choice of a specific frequency when others are available."

The ARRL contends, in its comments, that "nothing in the four corners of [ReconRobotics'] request indicates anything that would verify the actual conclusions offered. The waiver request boils down to 'trust us, we have checked into this.'"

The ARRL points out in its comments that there are differing amateur operations throughout the 420-450 MHz band. One of the channels ReconRobotics is requesting use of -- 442-448 MHz -- is used by amateur repeaters (with band plans varying by locality) and also for Amateur television repeater inputs. "These repeater inputs, both for voice and video, are at high locations where line-of-sight to [ReconRobotics] devices should be expected anywhere in the United States. Repeaters in this band are routinely used for emergency communications via amateur Radio for numerous served agencies including FEMA, and so at times when [ReconRobotic's] device may be expected to be used, the repeaters may be expected to be in operation in the same areas," ARRL comments state.

For this reason as well, the ARRL maintains that interference to [the Recon Scout] device may be expected on a regular basis from Amateur Radio operations: "While it is all well and good for [ReconRobotics], a manufacturer, to suggest that it understands that operation of the device would be subject to interference received from licensed users in the band, such interference is not a comforting thought for licensed radio amateurs who could very easily be perceived to be, or held responsible for the failure or malfunction of these analog devices in a given application and the danger to public safety officers who are
relying on them. It is also too much to expect that a Public Safety licensee will understand that the use of the device is unpredictable because interference to the device is unpredictable. [ReconRobotics] is correct about one thing: Amateur Radio operators take their relationship with First Responders very seriously. Creating fundamental incompatibility between Public Safety communications and Amateur Radio operations serves no one well at all, and for this reason,
[ReconRobotics] should reconfigure its device to operate in a different allocation."

The ARRL urges the FCC to deny the waiver request, "either permanently or even temporarily," and calls on the Commission to require ReconRobotics to "initiate a rulemaking proceeding if it feels that the Part 90 or Part 15 rules governing analog devices are not sufficiently accommodating and should be changed, and could be changed consistent with interference avoidance. Repeatedly granting waivers for analog devices which do not meet the fundamental interference avoidance requirements of the existing rules is bad spectrum management and ill-serves the Amateur Service."

In December 2007, GE Healthcare filed ex parte comments in response to a Notice of Inquiry (NOI) in the pending "MedRadio" proceeding, proposing that the band 2360-2400 MHz be allocated on a secondary basis for "Body Sensor Networks" (BSNs). These systems are apparently to be used for wireless patient monitoring. They are very short-range networks consisting of multiple body-worn sensors and nodes, connected via wireless to nearby hub stations at medical facilities and in homes. The Amateur Radio Service is currently allocated 2390-2400 MHZ on a primary basis.

In its comments, the ARRL states that it does not expect a "significant amount of harmful interference to Amateur operations at 2390-2400 MHz from BSNs." GE Healthcare's proposal, however, makes "erroneous assumptions about Amateur uses in these bands, and the interference potential of the devices to Amateur Radio stations in residential areas is not known."

According to GE Healthcare, they propose an allocation of the entire 2360-2400 MHz band for use of the BSN devices, but the ARRL contends that "in any given area, only 20 MHz of that band would be used. [GE Healthcare's] proposal specifically mentions Amateur Radio and claims that, because the band 2390-2400 MHz is 'designed [sic] for fast scan video, high rate data, packet, control and auxiliary applications' and not weak signal communications, it is well-suited for sharing with the BSN systems."

The ARRL argued that this is a misconception on GE Healthcare's part: "The fact is that there are no limitations on the type of Amateur uses to be made in these bands. The band may in fact be used in some areas for weak signal communications, on a completely unpredictable basis. The uses of this band by radio amateurs, though guided overall by a national band plan, are very much subject to local variation dictated by custom and usage. Weak signal Amateur communications utilize long propagation paths, very low received signal levels, and very high transmitted signal levels. The band is also used for long distance data, voice and television communications using relatively weak received signal levels."

The ARRL, in its comments, said it "is far more concerned" about potential interference to BSNs from licensed Amateur Radio operation in the 2390-2400 MHz band: "The ramifications of radiofrequency interference (RFI) to these systems in terms of danger to medical patients are obvious, and potentially severe." The ARRL contends "that the potential for interference from Amateur Radio operations, which are in this band occasionally itinerant and mobile, but most often fixed in residential areas, to BSNs operated at a patient's residence would be...a problem."

In light of the possibilities of harmful interference, the ARRL requested that the FCC "not proceed with the proposal of GE Healthcare as proposed in the 2390-2400 MHz band."

 

 

New Section Managers to Take Office July 1

SB QST @ ARL $ARLB011
ARLB011 New Section Managers to Take Office July 1

ZCZC AG11
QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 11 ARLB011
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT May 22, 2008
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB011
ARLB011 New Section Managers to Take Office July 1

In the only contested Section Manager race this spring, Paul Eakin, KJ4G, was elected as the ARRL Northern Florida Section Manager with 430 votes. Dale Sewell, W4NBF, received 385 votes, and Carl Zelich, AA4MI, received 370 votes. Ballots were counted Tuesday, May 20, 2008, at ARRL Headquarters.

Eakin's two-year term begins on July 1; he will be stepping into the office that has been held by Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, since 1990. Hubbard has served nine continuous terms of office. A Life Member of ARRL, Eakin is from the Tallahassee area and he has been a licensed radio amateur since 1969. He has a strong background in Emergency Communications and many years of emergency service experience.

The ARRL Northern New Jersey Section is getting a new Section Manager starting on July 1, as well: Richard Krohn, N2SMV, of Manalapan, will be taking over the reins from Bill Hudzik, W2UDT, who has served as Section Manager since 2001.

The following incumbent ARRL Section Managers did not face opposition and were declared elected for the next two year terms of office beginning July 1: Tom Ciciora, KA9QPN (Illinois); Bill Woodhead, N1KAT (Maine); Bonnie Altus, AB7ZQ (Oregon); Bill Dale, N2RHV (Santa Clara Valley); Paul Gayet, AA1SU (Vermont), and Don Michalski, W9IXG (Wisconsin).

Nominations for the Indiana Section Manager position will be resolicited in July QST for an 18-month term of office beginning in January 2009.

NNNN
/EX

 

 

New Amateur Radio Satellite Receives OSCAR Designation

SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS005
ARLS005 New Amateur Radio Satellite Receives OSCAR Designation

ZCZC AS05
QST de W1AW
Space Bulletin 005 ARLS005
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington, CT May 22, 2008
To all radio amateurs

SB SPACE ARL ARLS005
ARLS005 New Amateur Radio Satellite Receives OSCAR Designation

Earlier this week, Bill Tynan, W3XO, announced that Amateur Radio satellite Delfi C-3 has been issued an OSCAR number: Delfi-C3 OSCAR-64 or Dutch OSCAR-64. The shortened version of either of these two designations is DO-64.

Delfi C-3 was successfully launched April, 28, 2008 from India aboard a Polar launch vehicle and was successfully commissioned, currently transmitting telemetry on the 2 meter amateur band. In addition to its 2 meter downlink, Delfi C-3 has an uplink on the 70 cm band.

This newest amateur satellite was developed by a team of some 60 students and facility members from various polytechnic schools in The Netherlands.

Delfi C-3 carries two experiments: one involving thin film solar cells developed by Dutch Space, and an autonomous wireless Sun sensor from the Dutch Government Research Institute (TNO).

According to Delfi C-3 Project Manager Wolter Jan Ubbels, Delfi C-3 has been duly coordinated through Region 1 IARU representative Graham Shirville, G3VZV, and that the satellite "meets all of the criteria necessary to be issued an OSCAR number."

"AMSAT-NA is pleased to welcome DO-64 into the family of Amateur Radio satellites," Tynan said. "We are hopeful that it will fulfill its intended mission of furthering education and increasing interest in the Amateur Radio space program. We congratulate all of those responsible for designing, building, testing and launching this new Amateur Radio satellite and look forward to its long and productive life."

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/EX

 

 

RONALD A. PARISE, WA4SIR (SK)

Dr Ronald A. Parise, PhD, WA4SIR, passed away Friday May 9, 2008 after a very long and courageous battle with cancer. He was 57. Parise flew as a payload specialist on two space shuttle missions: STS-35 on Columbia in December 1990 and STS-67 on the Endeavour in March 1995. These two missions, ASTRO-1 and ASTRO-2, respectively, carried out ultraviolet and x-ray astronomical observations, logging more than 614 hours and 10.6 million miles in space. Parise was one of the first astronomers to operate a telescope from space, making hundreds of observations during the mission. Amateur Radio on the International Space Station (ARISS) Chairman Frank H. Bauer, KA3HDO, said Parise's personal contributions to these two missions provided scientists with "an unprecedented view of our universe, expanding our understanding of the birth, life and death of stars and galaxies." Information on ARISS can be found on the ARISS Web site <http://www.rac.ca/ariss/oindex.htm>.

First licensed when he was 11, Parise kept Amateur Radio at the forefront of everything he did, including his operations from space. During his two shuttle flights, he spoke with hundreds of hams on the ground. He was instrumental in guiding the development of a simple ham radio system that could be used in multiple configurations on the space shuttle; as a result, his first flight on Columbia ushered in what Bauer called the "frequent flyer era" of the Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment (SAREX) payload <http://www.arrl.org/ARISS/sarex-past.html>. He was the first ham in space to operate packet radio. "His flight pioneered the telebridge ground station concept to enable more schools to talk to shuttle crew members despite time and orbit constraints," Bauer said.
"In his two shuttle flights, he inspired countless students to seek technical careers and he created memories at the schools and communities that will never be forgotten. Ron was also the ultimate ham radio operator -- in space and on the ground."

Bauer said that Parise's love for Amateur Radio and his love of inspiring students continued well beyond his two shuttle flights: "During the formation of the ARISS program, Ron was a tremendous resource to the newly forming international team. I know of many instances where Ron's wisdom and sage advice was instrumental in helping our international team resolve issues when we reached critical technical
or political roadblocks. He was a key volunteer in the development of the ham radio hardware systems that are now on-board ISS. The ARISS team is deeply indebted to WA4SIR for his leadership, technical advice and tremendous vision."

Parise worked hand-in-hand with the students at the US Naval Academy and Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University on the development of their student satellites. He helped develop Radio Jove, a student educational project to listen to the radio signals emanating from Jupiter <http://radiojove.gsfc.nasa.gov/>. Parise spoke at numerous schools over the years, inspiring students to pursue careers in science, math and
technology.

"Ron Parise was--and continues to be--an inspiration to countless students, ham radio operators, and friends the world over. His accomplishments were many, including space explorer, pioneer, astrophysicist, pilot, ham radio operator, avionics and software expert, inspirational speaker and motivator, student satellite mentor, husband, father and friend. While he certainly did some truly extraordinary things in his lifetime, Ron Parise is best known and cherished for keeping family and friends first, and for this, we will miss him most," Bauer said.

In an effort to continue Parise's work to inspire the next generation, his family has set up a scholarship fund in Parise's honor for students pursuing technical degrees at Youngstown State University, Parise's alma mater. In lieu of flowers, those interested are welcome to send donations to the Dr Ronald A. Parise Scholarship Fund, Youngstown State University, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555. -- Information provided by Goddard Amateur Radio Club, WA3NAN

 

 

Ten New Satellites in Orbit

From the ARRL on 2008-04-28:

 

Ten satellites reached orbit April 28 aboard an Indian PSLV-C9 rocket launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Center. The primary payloads were India's CARTOSAT-2A and IMS-1 satellites. In addition to the NLS-5 and RUBIN-8 satellites, the rocket carried six CubeSat research satellites, all of which communicate using Amateur Radio frequencies. All spacecraft deployed normally and appear to be functional at this time.

The SEEDS satellite is designed and built by students at Japan's Nihon University. When fully operational, SEEDS will download telemetry in Morse code and 1200-baud FM AFSK packet radio at 437.485 MHz. The satellite also has Slow-Scan TV (SSTV) capability. Several stations have reported receiving SEEDS CW telemetry and the team would appreciate receiving more reports from amateurs at their ground station Web page.

AAUSAT-II is the creation of a student team at Aalborg University in Denmark. It will downlink scientific telemetry at 437.425 MHz using 1200 or 9600-baud packet.

Can-X2 is a product of students at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies, Space Flight Laboratory (UTIAS/SFL). Can-X2 will downlink telemetry at 437.478 MHz using 4 kbps GFSK, but the downlink will be active only when the satellite
is within range of the Toronto ground station.

Compass-One was designed and built by students at Aachen University of Applied Sciences in Germany. The satellite features a Morse code telemetry beacon at 437.275 MHz. Compass-1 will also provide a packet radio data downlink, which will include image data, at 437.405 MHz.

Cute 1.7 + APDII is a satellite created by students at the Tokyo Institute of Technology. This satellite will not only provide telemetry, it will also offer a 9600-baud packet store-and-forward message relay with an uplink at 1267.6 MHz and a downlink at 437.475 MHz.

Delfi-C3 was designed and built by students at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands. It includes an SSB/CW linear transponder. The satellite will be in telemetry-only mode for the first three months of the mission, after which it will be switched to transponder mode. Delfi-C3 downlinks 1200-baud packet telemetry
at 145.870 MHz. The linear transponder, when activated, will have an uplink passband from 435.530 to 435.570 MHz and a corresponding downlink passband from 145.880 to 145.920 MHz.

 

 

More on the passing of L.B. Cebik (SK)

From the ARRL Letter (2008-04-25):

 

Court finds FCC violated Administrative Procedure Act in BPL

From the ARRL Letter (2008-04-25):

 

The US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today released its decision <http://pacer.cadc.uscourts.gov/common/opinions/200804/06-1343-1112979.pdf> on the ARRL's Petition for Review of the FCC's Orders adopting rules governing broadband over power line (BPL) systems. The Court agreed with the ARRL on two major points and remanded the rules to the Commission. Writing for the three-judge panel of Circuit Judges Rogers, Tatel and Kavanaugh, Judge Rogers summarized: "The Commission failed to satisfy the notice and comment requirements of the Administrative Procedure Act ('APA') by redacting studies on which it relied in promulgating the rule and failed to provide a reasoned explanation for its choice of the extrapolation factor for measuring Access BPL emissions."

The Court agreed with the ARRL that the FCC had failed to comply with the APA by not fully disclosing for public comment the staff studies on which it relied. The Court also agreed with the ARRL that the Commission erred in not providing a reasoned justification for its choice of an extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade for Access BPL systems and in offering "no reasoned explanation for its dismissal of empirical data that was submitted at its invitation." The Court was not persuaded by the ARRL's arguments on two other points, on which it found that the Commission had acted within its discretion.

The conclusion that the FCC violated the APA hinges on case law. "It would appear to be a fairly obvious proposition that studies upon which an agency relies in promulgating a rule must be made available during the rulemaking in order to afford interested persons meaningful notice and an opportunity for comment," the Court said, adding that "there is no APA precedent allowing an agency to cherry-pick a study on which it has chosen to rely in part."

The Court continued, "The League has met its burden to demonstrate prejudice by showing that it 'ha[s] something useful to say' regarding the unredacted studies [citation omitted] that may allow it to 'mount a credible challenge' if given the opportunity to comment." Information withheld by the Commission included material under the headings "New Information Arguing for Caution on HF BPL" and "BPL Spectrum Tradeoffs." The Court concluded that "no precedent sanctions such a 'hide and seek' application of the APA's notice and comment requirements."

With regard to the extrapolation factor, the Court ordered: "On remand, the Commission shall either provide a reasoned justification for retaining an extrapolation factor of 40 dB per decade for Access BPL systems sufficient to indicate that it has grappled with the 2005 studies, or adopt another factor and provide a reasoned explanation for it." The studies in question were conducted by the Office of Communications, the FCC's counterpart in the United Kingdom, and were submitted by the ARRL, along with the League's own analysis showing that an extrapolation factor closer to 20 dB per decade was more appropriate, as part of the record in its petition for reconsideration of the FCC's
BPL Order. The Court said that the FCC "summarily dismissed" this data in a manner that "cannot substitute for a reasoned explanation." The Court also noted that the record in the FCC proceeding included a study by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration that "itself casts doubt on the Commission's decision."

The briefs for the ARRL were prepared by a team of attorneys at WilmerHale, a firm with extensive appellate experience, with assistance from ARRL General Counsel Christopher D. Imlay, W3KD. Oral argument for the ARRL was conducted by Jonathan J. Frankel of WilmerHale. Oral argument was heard on October 23, 2007; the Court's decision was released more than six months later.

After reading the decision, General Counsel Imlay observed, "The decision of the Court of Appeals, though long in coming, was well worth the wait. It is obvious that the FCC was overzealous in its advocacy of BPL, and that resulted in a rather blatant cover-up of the technical facts surrounding its interference potential. Both BPL and Amateur Radio would be better off had the FCC dealt with the interference potential in an honest and forthright manner at the outset. Now there is an opportunity to finally establish some rules that will allow BPL to
proceed, if it can in configurations that don't expose licensed radio services to preclusive interference in the HF bands."

ARRL Chief Executive Officer David Sumner, K1ZZ, added: "We are gratified that the Court decided to hold the FCC's feet to the fire on such a technical issue as the 40 dB per decade extrapolation factor. It is also gratifying to read the Court's strong support for the principles underlying the Administrative Procedure Act. Now that the Commission has been ordered to do what it should have done in the first place, we look forward to participating in the proceedings on remand, and to helping to craft rules that will provide licensed radio services with the
interference protection they are entitled to under law."

ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, concluded: "I am very pleased that the Court saw through the FCC's smoke screen and its withholding of valid engineering data that may contradict their position that the interference potential of BPL to Amateur Radio and public safety communications is minimal. The remand back to the FCC regarding their use of an inappropriate extrapolation factor validates the technical competence of Amateur Radio operators and especially of the ARRL Lab under the direction of Ed Hare, W1RFI. We are grateful for the work of our legal team and especially for the unflagging support of the ARRL membership as we fought the odds in pursuing this appeal."

 

 

Hamvention forums announced

From Weavers Words (2008-04-28):

 

The list of forums at the Dayton Hamvention has been released by the Hamvention Committee. To see the list, go to http://www.hamvention.org/hv2008/forums/index.html.

 

Hamvention travel advisory

From Weavers Words (2008-04-12):

 

"Finally, after . . . 6 weeks, the construction info is now on the Hamvention(r) web page," wrote Robert Lunsford, KB8UEY of the Hamvention Committee. The information has been posted at http://www.hamvention.org/hv2008/media/trafficnews.html.

The information provides valuable tips on avoiding difficulties that could result from highway construction near the 2008 Hamvention. You will recall the Hamvention Committee is expecting a bumper crop of Ohio "orange barrel" State flowers to be in full-bloom at Hamvention time.

If you will be driving or riding shotgun to the Hamvention, you will want to review the information Bob has prepared. Navigating the final several miles to HARA will be much easier if you have studied his suggestions.

Bob added, "As always if anyone has any Talk-In related questions they
can email me at talkin@hamvention.org."

 

 

Ohio amateur sounds the alarm!

From Weavers Words (2008-04-28):

 

On March 25, Geauga ARA President Eric Bartholomew, KF8YK sent me an e-mail warning that an Ohio university had submitted a request asking the FCC to assign five frequency pairs in the 420-430 MHz band to it.  He pointed out that the higher frequency of each pair was in the Amateur Band and not legally available for commercial assignment. The following is an abbreviated summary of how his warning very likely saved the university and the ARRL (i.e. you) a significant amount of money, effort and hassle.

After re-reading the relevant portion of Part 97 of the FCC regulations, I initially thought Eric's assessment was not correct. To be certain, I forwarded his memo to ARRL President Harrison, W5ZN, CEO Sumner, K1ZZ and Chief Counsel Imlay, W3KD to obtain expert review.  K1ZZ and W3KD promptly confirmed Eric's assessment. My problem was that I did not read FCC's commercial radio rules -- Part 30 in this instance -- which apply in this situation.

Our unanimous view was that ARRL should voice a formal objection to the frequency assignment request to the FCC even though its denial should have been automatic. Even as the ink on this formal objection was drying, the FCC granted the university's request for the frequencies.  The FCC in essence violated its own rules -- again.

Counsel Imlay tossed our objection into the round file even before its final in-house review was completed. In its place, a formal request for review was sent to the Commission in its place.

Concurrent with submitting the petition for review to the FCC, General Counsel Imlay notified the university administration of the problem.  Its spokesman immediately offered to withdraw the request and to modify it by resubmitting it to cover frequencies that are consistent with FCC rules. In turn, ARRL agreed to withdraw our petition for review as soon as the university's revised petition was submitted. The problem had been the result of an error by a consulting firm.

Arguments over frequency assignments typically cover long periods of time and eat many thousands of dollars. In this instance though, everyone acted promptly in good faith to avoid a potential, major and costly problem. All this was accomplished thanks to the watchfulness and action of KF8YK, and to the capability of ARRL that he called on to resolve the problem.

Thanks, again, Eric. Good eyes! Thanks, also, to General Counsel Imlay for knowing the appropriate prompt action to take with the right people.

 

 

FCC must review BPL rules

From Weaver's Words (2008-04-28):

 

In a decision released April 25, a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia directs the FCC to reconsider rules it made concerning technical rules for the operation of Broadband over Powerlines (BPL). This ruling came as a result of the lawsuit ARRL brought against the Commission. The case is identified as No. 06-1343. This decision is nearly as much as we could have wanted, and is a victory for ARRL and Amateur Radio.

What is the practical meaning of this decision? It means that the FCC must reconsider its technical rulings concerning BPL and the technical bases for these rulings, and the level of interference that should be allowed. It also means that the Commission must make data it says it uses in reaching conclusions to all interested parties to review. In essence, FCC cannot hide data as it had done in issuing BPL regulations.

We don't know the final cost of the suit, yet, but the Board had allocated $300,000 for it. This should indicate the great importance my 14 fellow directors and I placed on the suit. The effort and expense the Board authorized was made possible by members who contributed to the relevant ARRL fund drives over the last few years.  Without these contributions the League would not have had funds available to wage a suit, let alone to wage the quality of action that proved good enough to win most of the points we made in our argument.

Does this put a little different perspective on the "please donate" pleas Mary Hobart, N1MMH has been sending to each of us? Our money served a valued, precedent-setting purpose. Thanks to you who contributed.

 

Antenna Expert L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK)

From the April 22, 2008 ARRL News:

----

L. B. Cebik, W4RNL, ARRL Technical Adviser and antenna authority, passed away last week. He was 68.

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