ARRL Letter Update 7/26 (long)
frenaye at pcnet.com
frenaye at pcnet.com
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
The ARRL Letter
July 26, 1996
IN THIS UPDATE . . ..
* 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
ARRL BOARD OF DIRECTORS MEETS
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
* 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
BOARD AFFIRMS AWARD WINNERS
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
FCC OKAYS ELECTRONIC FILING FOR INDIVIDUALS BY VECs
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.
EXPANDED HOURS FOR NEW LICENSE, CALL SIGN INFORMATION
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
TWA FLIGHT 800: LONG ISLAND ARES PITCHES IN
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,"
VECs VISIT GETTYSBURG
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.
INQUIRY BOARD CITES SOFTWARE BUG IN ARIANE 501 FAILURE
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."
W0CY's WIDOW, FAMILY MEMBERS, FOUND DEAD
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 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 FLARES MOSTLY A BUST ON EARTH; FLUX DOWN
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.
ARRL DXCC 2000 AD HOC COMMITTEE MEETS
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 METZ, KB7UIM, IS 1996 YOUNG HAM OF THE YEAR
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 ix.netcom.com.
EBB AND FLOW AMONG HAM RADIO DEALERS
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."
* The new vice director for the New England Division is Don Haney, KA1T,
Harvard, Massachusetts. Don replaces Warren Rothberg, WB1HBB, who has moved
* 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);
* 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 arrl.org.
Editorial, Rick Lindquist, KX4V, e-mail rlindquist at arrl.org.
Visit the ARRL Web page at http://www.arrl.org.
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.
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Tom Frenaye, K1KI, P O Box 386, West Suffield CT 06093 Phone: 860-668-5444
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