ARRL Letter Update 7/26 (long)

frenaye at frenaye at
Sat Jul 27 00:19:18 EDT 1996

I couldn't figure out what to chop from this one, so I didn't. 
Lots of stuff seemed interesting, but not much explicitly related
to contesting.  73 Tom

---------------Original Message---------------

The ARRL Letter
Electronic Update
July 26, 1996

* ARRL Board of Directors meets
* Board affirms award winners
* FCC to expand electronic filing program
* Expanded license info and call sign hours
* Hams aid Flight-800 recovery effort
* VECs meet with FCC in Gettysburg
* Software bug blamed for Ariane 501 failure
* W0CY's widow, family members, are apparent murder victims
* Solar flares have little earthly impact
* ARRL DXCC 2000 panel sets agenda
* Toby Metz, KB7UIM, is Young Ham of the Year
* Radio dealer ebb and flow
* In Brief: New vice director for New England;
   award discontinued; South African hams seek
   new allocations.


The ARRL Board of Directors met July 18-20, 1996, at Rocky Hill, 
Connecticut. Here is a summary of the meeting highlights:

* Executive Vice President David Sumner, K1ZZ, was instructed to use all 
available means to vigorously oppose commercial encroachment into the 
2-meter and 70-cm bands.

* Staff and counsel were directed to coordinate with FCC and to pursue, in 
Congress, legislation that would permit the FCC to temporarily suspend 
amateur operator licenses upon presentation of evidence sufficient to 
establish intentional violation of the Communications Act or Part 97. Such 
suspensions would be effective immediately upon issuance by FCC of a 
suspension order.

* The League will petition the FCC for a rule change to permit Advanced 
class volunteer examiners to administer all examination elements required 
for the General class license.

* The League's Ad Hoc Committee on Repeater Coordination was authorized to 
continue discussions with the National Frequency Coordinators Council.

* In a separate repeater matter, the board authorized staff--in exchange for 
supplying repeater data without constraint--to reimburse each recognized 
local frequency coordination body an amount equivalent to the cost of 
collecting such data independently.

* The WRC-99 Planning Committee was authorized funding to conduct a survey 
as part of its work to develop recommendations for the ARRL board. The 
international Morse code requirement is one topic on the WRC-99 agenda.

* The Board congratulated the organizers, competitors, judges, and referees 
of the recently concluded World Radiosport Team Championship (WRTC) held in 
San Francisco and thanked the FCC for its support of this unique event.

* The Executive Committee will review current League documentation for the 
purpose of developing a code of ethics for Board members.

* The Membership Services Committee will study compliance with band plans, 
and report back to the Board. The committee also was asked to request the DX 
Advisory Committee (DXAC) to study the rules concerning DXCC accreditation.

* The Contest Advisory Committee will study ways of better incorporating the 
50-MHz band into existing ARRL contests.

* The Digital Committee, having completed its work, was discharged with the 
thanks of the Board. The membership of the Future Systems Committee will be 


Michelle M. Ritterbusch, N1PNT, Bethel, Connecticut, was named recipient of 
the Hiram Percy Maxim Memorial Award for 1995. Michelle, 17, was nominated 
by Peter Kemp, KZ1Z, also of Bethel, who cited her extensive participation 
and leadership in Amateur Radio activities.

Michelle has served as an officer of the Candlewood Amateur Radio 
Association and Bethel Educational Amateur Radio Society (BEARS). KZ1Z is 
the BEARS' advisor. Michelle also has helped out with public service 
activities, including the Special Olympics, and with club operating events 
and participated as a Youth Forum presenter at the New England Division 
Convention. She's also a very active promoter of Amateur Radio.

In other awards:

* Frank Witt, AI1H, Andover, Massachusetts, won the 1995 ARRL Technical 
Excellence Award for his series of articles, "How to Evaluate Your Antenna 
Tuner," in the April and May 1995 issues of QST.

* Robert Josuweit, WA3PZO, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, won the fifth annual 
Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award, which goes to an ARRL member who 
demonstrates public relations success on behalf of ham radio.

* Andrew J. Blackburn III, WD4AFY, Savannah, Georgia, is the 1995 Herb S. 
Brier Instructor of the Year; David G. Reeves, KF6PJ, Simi Valley, 
California, is the 1995 Professional Educator of the Year; Joseph Tokarz, 
KB9EZZ, Ottawa, Illinois, is the 1995 Professional Instructor of the Year; 
and Rick Tasetano, N5KLM, Moore, Oklahoma, won the 1995 Excellence in 
Recruiting Award.


The FCC said July 16 that it will permit VECs to file Amateur Radio Service 
license renewal and modification applications electronically on behalf of 
individual applicants. "This will provide for more efficient application 
processing for Amateur Service license grants.," the FCC said. As one of the 
country's 16 VECs, the ARRL/VEC will announce a start-up date to accept 
applications "once it has established its policies and procedures to 
administer this program," said ARRL/VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, KB9NM. 
Participating VECs may charge a fee for the service. The FCC said that at 
the request of several Amateur Radio operators, it was waiving its rules 
that require a Form 610 hard-copy application.

Most VECs, including the ARRL/VEC, already electronically file all 
applications received from VE testing, a process the FCC said "has been 
highly successful in eliminating delays in obtaining licenses." The 
Commission said VECs will not be required to accept applications from 
individuals for electronic filing, and the FCC will continue to accept 
hard-copy license renewal and modification applications without a processing 
charge. But the FCC said it anticipates developing the capability to allow 
individual hams "to file their applications electronically and receive a 
license grant immediately."

Once the program kicks into gear, individual applicants--working through 
cooperating VECs--will be able to file applications for license renewal and 
modification electronically. Acceptable modifications will include change of 
name, change of mailing address, and change of call sign.

Consistent with existing procedures, when application data are forwarded 
electronically, the VEC must retain the actual FCC Form 610 documents for at 
least 15 months and make them available to the FCC upon request.

The FCC said that all other applicable rules pertaining to requirements for 
filing of applications are unaffected by the waiver, which can be terminated 
at any time.


Information on new licenses and call signs soon will be available from 
ARRL/VEC 13 hours a day during the week. The ARRL/VEC inaugurates its new 
weekday-evening license information service Monday, August 5, 1996. With the 
additional evening hours, new license and call sign information will be 
available from 8 AM until 9 PM Eastern Time.

"With the fall examination season just around the corner, this new weeknight 
service will allow us to provide a more complete service to all our Amateur 
Radio licensing customers--especially those on the West Coast and in the 
Pacific and Alaskan areas," said ARRL/VEC Manager Bart Jahnke, KB9NM.

For new license information, call the ARRL/VEC at 860-594-0300 between 8 AM 
and 9 PM Eastern Time starting August 5. Before you call, however, please 
allow at least seven days for VEC and FCC processing of your new license 


Amateur Radio operations are expected to continue indefinitely to support 
recovery efforts in the wake of the TWA Flight 800 disaster off the Long 
Island, New York, shoreline. Mario Maltese, WF2T, of ARES, said that when 
the plane exploded and crashed, "beepers at our Skywarn class went off in 
concert, and Nassau and Suffolk counties Red Cross went Alert 1 at the 
headquarters, with no clear initial mission."

Maltese said New York City Red Cross requested communication to Suffolk, 
which was arranged on UHF, linking Nassau and Suffolk counties and New York 
City. A call also went out to Sid Wolen, K2LJH, of Azden in New Hyde Park, 
New York, to supply additional radios, which the company was able to do.

"As the situation developed, the Red Cross mission became to feed the 2000 
to 3000 rescue workers at the 'crash site' (US Coast Guard Station) and to 
provide mental health support for the workers and the victims' families," 
Maltese said. The local telephone company, NYNEX, donated cell phones, but 
WF2T reports that these initially were useless, with 3000 rescue workers and 
thousands of members of the press severely overloading the local cell. NYNEX 
set up a high-capacity site the second day, but that had its limitations 

Ham radio worked, however. WF2T reports that ARES provided vital 
communications links among American Red Cross HQ in Yaphank, New York, the 
lead Red Cross official at the site, and the Red Cross official at the 
morgue. "This was expanded later with shadows for other officials," he said. 
The American Red Cross plans to operate 12-hour shifts, and DEC Andy 
Feldman, WB2FXN, was asking for ARES mutual aid teams. WF2T said hams and 
Red Cross personnel are working well together. "The chemistry between ARES 
operators and agency officials couldn't be more positive or professional," 
he said.


All 16 of the Volunteer Examination Coordinators (VECs) in the US were 
represented at the FCC's Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, office July 19. The FCC's 
Larry Weikert told the gathering that as of July 18, 1996, 3159 hams had 
taken advantage of the vanity call sign program, which began May 31. Gate 1A 
of the program opened July 22 for applicants seeking an in memoriam call 
sign for a club station.

"We, the FCC, certainly had our share of problems with the EF [electronic 
filing] system in the last month or so," Weikert acknowledged, blaming the 
problems on "corrupt files, upgrading the system but not making all the 
changes to make it run smoothly and whatever else there was." But, Weikert 
also told the gathering that the accuracy of VEC applications filed 
electronically with his office had improved over last year.


A board of inquiry has blamed a software glitch for the June 4 failure of 
the Ariane 501 launcher after some 40 seconds of flight. The Ariane 502 
launcher was scheduled to carry the Phase 3D Amateur Radio satellite aloft 
this fall. The board's findings could delay that schedule, however, since 
it's not certain at this point how long it will take to correct the problems 
and test the revised systems.

The board determined that the rocket's inertial guidance system stopped 
"talking" to the engines, and the thrust nozzles responded by shifting 
abruptly to an "extreme position." This caused the rocket to veer off at a 
wild angle. Auto-destruct occurred seconds later.

"The failure of Ariane 501 was caused by the complete loss of guidance and 
attitude information 37 seconds after start of the main engine ignition 
sequence (30 seconds after lift-off). This loss of information was due to 
specification and design errors in the software of the inertial reference 
system," the board concluded. "The extensive reviews and tests carried out 
during the Ariane 5 development programme did not include adequate analysis 
and testing of the inertial reference system or of the complete flight 
control system, which could have detected the potential failure."


Salina, Kansas, police are investigating the apparent murders of Delores 
McKim--the widow of Jim McKim, W0CY--her daughter and a great-grandson. The 
three died sometime on the weekend of July 20-21 at the McKim residence in 
an upscale neighborhood of Salina. A friend notified authorities to check 
the house after she had been unable to reach Mrs McKim, who was 80. Lt Mike 
Sweeney of the Salina Police Department said someone forced their way into 
the house intending to burglarize it. He identified the other victims as 
Carol Abercrombie, 56, and her grandson, Christopher Abercrombie, 5. Carol 
Abercrombie was from Chattanooga, Tennessee. Sweeney would not say how the 
victims died. Reports in the Salina Journal say all three were found inside 
the house.

The killer apparently took Jim McKim's car, still bearing his W0CY call sign 
license plates, but the vehicle was recovered about a mile away where it had 
been abandoned at an apartment complex. The car reportedly had not been 
driven since Jim McKim died on February 14 at the age of 80.

W0CY was a longtime AMSAT member and, until only a few months prior to his 
death, served as net control for the Mid-continent 75-meter AMSAT Net. He 
was a life member of AMSAT, ARRL and QCWA, and was regarded as a pioneer on 
the VHF and UHF bands.


Solar seer Tad Cook, KT7H, in Seattle, Washington, reports the solar flares 
earlier this month never caused a big geomagnetic effect here on Earth. The 
A index only went up to 10 on July 12. The biggest upset recently was early 
on July 17 when the K index went to 4 and the A index was 11. This is hardly 
a disturbance and is quite common during more active portions of the solar 

Solar flux has backed off from the week of July 7 and dipped below 70 again 
this past week, with the average down about 5 points from the week previous. 
Solar flux is expected to rise to about 70 around July 26, and peak below 80 
around August 2. No geomagnetic disturbances are forecast at this time. The 
primary band for worldwide communication over the next month will be 20 

Sunspot numbers for July 11 through July 17 were 32, 19, 11, 0, 0, 0 and 0, 
respectively, for a mean of 8.9. The 10.7-cm flux was 77, 73.7, 70.2, 67.8, 
67, 66.9 and 66.8, respectively, for a mean of 69.9.


The ARRL DXCC 2000 Committee held its first meeting in Rocky Hill, 
Connecticut, on Sunday, July 21, 1996. Items on the agenda were:

* History and cost of DXCC
* International aspects
* Discussion of the basis and purpose of DXCC
* Discussion on how to seek membership input
* Overall aspects of the current program

The committee plans to meet again in the fall to continue its work.


Toby J. Metz, KB7UIM, a 16-year-old who lives in Agoura Hills, California, 
has been named the 1996 Young Ham of the Year. The award is jointly 
sponsored by Amateur Radio Newsline (run by Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, who 
administers the award), Yaesu USA and CQ magazine. Toby, who recently moved 
to California from Meridian, Idaho, was selected based on his work to 
introduce the deaf to Amateur Radio. Toby explained that his involvement 
with the Boise, Idaho, deaf community came as the result of a Boy Scout 
project to earn his Eagle rank.

Toby also assisted in establishing a ham radio Explorer post in Meridian, 
Idaho, and spent over a year hosting an on-air discussion group known as The 
Discovery Net. Rich Dees, AA7WG, of Meridian, Idaho, who helped Toby get 
into the hobby and nominated him for the award, describes Toby as "a born 

Toby Metz will receive the Young Ham of the Year award August 17, 1996, at 
the Huntsville (Alabama) Hamfest grand banquet. For more information, 
contact Bill Pasternak, WA6ITF, 805-296-7180; e-mail newsline at


JRS Distributors of York, Pennsylvania, is going out of business. Begun by 
James Strauss in 1925 as Jim's Tire and Radio Shop (later shortened to Jim's 
Radio Shop and later to JRS Distributors), the company eventually began to 
sell Amateur Radio gear. In the 1950s, James Strauss Jr, K3JFL, joined his 
father in the business and eventually took it over. His wife, Jean, K3OAU, 
became manager in the mid-1960s when James Jr took a full-time teaching job. 
During the 1970s, the company began to sell ham radio equipment exclusively 
and became a familiar sight at hamfests along the Eastern Seaboard. Last 
year, James Jr, now 67, and Jean, 59, decided it was time to slow down, so 
they're shutting down JRS. At the last few hamfests, Jean has been selling 
out the company's remaining stock of parts and equipment.

Meanwhile, Tucker Electronics Company of Dallas, Texas, has announced an 
agreement to purchase substantially all of the assets and the trademark of 
Oklahoma Comm Center from a corporation owned by D. Craig Boyer, AH9B. 
Tucker's president is Jim Tucker, WM5G. The move brings together 
professionally the two well-known DXers and contesters.

Tucker Electronics distributes new and reconditioned electronic test and 
measuring gear, amateur and shortwave radios and electronic hobbyist items. 
Tucker plans to consolidate Oklahoma Comm Center with its retail and 
mail-order operations in Garland, Texas. According to a Tucker Electronics 
Company news release, Boyer will participate on Tucker's Advisory Board "to 
assist the company in continuing to grow its Amateur Radio business." Tucker 
said the acquisition makes the company "one of the largest Amateur Radio 
dealers in the country operating out of a single location."


In Brief:

* The new vice director for the New England Division is Don Haney, KA1T, 
Harvard, Massachusetts. Don replaces Warren Rothberg, WB1HBB, who has moved 
to Florida.

* Award discontinued: The ARRL Membership Services Committee voted July 19, 
1996, to remove the 75-meter two-letter Extra class Worked All States award 
from the auspices of the ARRL and discontinue this award, which had been 
offered in cooperation with The Geratol Net. The League will accept 
applications through August 31, 1996. After that date, the Geratol Net will 
continue to offer its own award. The award manager is John L. Scott, WM9U, 
7613 Placing Rd, Indianapolis, IN 46226. For more information, contact Dave 
Ertel, KJ8V, 605 Crestview Dr, Lebanon, OH 45036; tel 513-932-7468 (h); 
513-793-1500 (w).

* Hams in South Africa are seeking new Amateur Radio allocations for HF and 
VHF. Project SABRE, the government's band replanning effort, is looking at 
spectrum between 20 MHz and 3 GHz. Some proposals include extending the 
10-meter band to 30 MHz for use during emergencies; allocating 40.675 to 
40.685 MHz for propagation studies (10 W ERP max); and allocating 70 to 70.3 
MHz on a secondary basis for experimental work on propagation.

The ARRL Letter is published by the American Radio Relay League, 225 Main 
St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax 860-594-0259. Rodney J. 
Stafford, KB6ZV, President; David Sumner, K1ZZ, Executive Vice President.

Electronic edition circulation, Kathy Capodicasa, N1GZO, e-mail 
kcapodicasa at
Editorial, Rick Lindquist, KX4V, e-mail rlindquist at

Visit the ARRL Web page at

The purpose of The ARRL Letter is to provide the essential news of interest 
to active, organizationally minded radio amateurs faster than it can be 
disseminated by our official journal, QST. We strive to be fast, accurate 
and readable in our reporting.

Material from The ARRL Letter may be reproduced in whole or in part, in any 
form, including photoreproduction and electronic databanks, provided that 
credit is given to The ARRL Letter and The American Radio Relay League.

----------End of Original Message----------

E-mail: frenaye at  
Tom Frenaye, K1KI, P O Box 386, West Suffield CT 06093 Phone: 860-668-5444

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