Volume 26, Number 8 August, 1996
Copyright © 1996 by EMARC
AUGUST MEETINGDel Fausey WB6WLT, retired NASA engineer, will speak on antenna design and propagation. Del likes to work QRP. Think about it: Weak signals from spacecraft require the most sophisticated antenna design. This will be a good one.
EMARC Calendar of Events
Regularly-scheduled events:EMARC Monthly Meeting: Fourth Friday of the month (except for possible changes in June, Nov. & Dec.) at 7 PM; Business Meeting, 7:30 PM; Program starts 8 PM. At the Covington School in Los Altos; directions on last page. See specific date listings above . EMARC events are also listed on packet (to EMARC@allscv); on the N0ARY event bulletin board (type EVENT or List Clubs); and on the automatic enunciator on the W6APZ repeater (145.23-). Note: The 4th Friday is not necessarily the last Friday.
The Station Open House program for 1996 is expanding! Omri, AA6TA, will host open houses on Tuesdays from 7 to 9 PM local time on an "as available" basis. The emphasis in the Tuesday open houses will be satellite operations and HF digital modes (RTTY, AMTOR, etc.). Please check with Omri (he is available virtually anytime on the W6APZ repeater, 145.230-, 100PL before coming. This is in addition to the Wednesday open houses, typically hosted by Bob, KD6VIO. The station open houses are for EMARC members and their invited guests only. Please do not discuss on the air the exact location of the station.
EMARC NET is held Thursdays at 8 PM on the W6APZ repeater, 145.230-; the 100 Hz PL is off for the net.
10 AM net. Weekdays at 10 AM on W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL). A very informal rag chew net with mostly EMARC members.
Foothill Flea Market: 2nd Saturday (starts pre-dawn), March thru September. Bring 4 quarters for the parking meters. At Foothill College, just west of I-280 at the El Monte/Moody Rd. exit in Los Altos. Talk-in: 145.27-
Project OSCAR meets following each Foothill Flea Market about 11 AM at Harry's Hofbrau in Mt. View, 399 El Camino Real at Bonita St., north of Grant and south of Castro, on the west side of the street.
No formal program - just get to know each other and (if you wish) have lunch together
PS There is a Project OSCAR / AMSAT net every Wednesday evening at 19:30 local time on the W6APZ repeater, 145.230-, 100 Hz PL. All hams welcome - you do not need to be active on the satellites to participate.
Livermore Flea Market: 1st Sunday (starts 7 AM) year round, rain or shine. At Las Positas College, Airway Blvd. exit off I-580 just west of Livermore. Talk-in 147.120+ or 145.35-(100Hz PL). Parking is free.
The NorCal QRP Club meets following the Livermore flea market at 11 AM at the California Burger in Pleasanton, about. 2 miles from the flea market.
10-10 Net. The local net for 10 meters enthusiasts meets every Monday at 8 PM on 28.475 MHz; net control: Neal, WA6OCP.
Code Practice at 10 PM every night in August. 145.570 simplex, Los Altos. KT6W. Thanks Jim.
October 19-20 + Boy Scouts Jamboree On The Air (JOTA). Contact AA6PZ, Paul for more information.
PLEASE READ the Pacific Division and Newsline reports, but not before you have to drive somewhere.
EMARC announcement mailing list is moderated, so you cannot reply directly to the list. To subscribe, send the word "subscribe" to: firstname.lastname@example.org; For help, send the word "help" to email@example.com; For human assistance, email to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The EMARC Relay is the official monthly newsletter of the Electronics Museum Amateur Radio Club. Club meetings are held at 7 PM on the fourth Friday of each month except January (Winter Banquet); and 3rd Friday in June, Nov. & Dec. Annual membership $20; family $25. Visitors are always welcome! Directions on the back page. Talk-in: W6APZ (145.23-, 100Hz) or W6ASH repeater (145.27- or 224.36-).
Contributions to the newsletter from members, family, and guests are earnestly
solicited! Contributions subject to editing and/or compression. ASCII files
via packet, Internet or diskettes preferred; but all readable forms welcome.
Here are the various ways to reach the editor:
VHF voice: KD6WRG on W6APZ, 145.23- (100Hz PL) 10AM net weekdays; EMARC net Thursdays 8 PM; Various other times.
Mail: 1093 Kelly Drive, San Jose CA 95129-3222
Voice: 408-996-1613 (Until 9 PM); Fax: 408-725-1036
Eyeball: at EMARC meetings.
Field Day Report
Category: 2A Call: K6YA Novice Call: KC6PUN CW PHONE Band QSOs QSOs 80 106 0 40 186 162 20 244 200 15 63 149 6 35 2 21  131 [2, 3] 220 2 440 9 1200 4 ------------------------------------ Total 620 692 10  212 ------------------------------------ Total 620 904 CW QSOs  620 x 2 = 1240 Phone QSOs 904 x 1 = 904 ------------------------------------ Total 2144 (< 150W)  2144 x 2 = 4288  100% Emergency Power 100 Media Publicity 100 Satellite 100 Public Location 100 Information Booth 100 Message to SM 100 W1AW Field Day Message 100 Natural Power 100 Packet Radio 100 VHF/UHF 100 ------------------------------------ Total bonus 1000 Final score 5288 Packet contacts on 2 meters.
 Includes 19 satellite contacts.
 Includes 6 solar power contacts.
 Novice station (KC6PUN).
 Multiplier for CW is 2.
 Multiplier for operation under 150W is 2.
 Total score before bonuses.
LICENSE CLASSES by EMARCNovice/Tech and General. Get details at the meeting or contact Steve Whitt (See box at left).
ARRL PACIFIC DIVISIONARRL PACIFIC DIVISION UPDATE
SPECIAL EDITION -- SEPTEMBER, 1996
by Brad Wyatt, K6WR, Director
Pacific Division, ARRL
18400 Overlook Rd. #5
Los Gatos CA 95030-5850
(408) 395-2501 (Phone and FAX)
World Radiosport Team Championship '96 a Great Success:-On July 13-14, in the San Francisco Bay Area, one of the unique opportunities from an operating and social point of view happened in the Amateur Radio family. Assembled in one area were 52 teams plus 2 exhibition teams of the best contesters from all over the world to work from standardized stations. While the contest was the reason they all came together, the opportunity to meet with these outstanding hams all in one place was the highlight for many of us. Thanks to the committee and staff from the Northern California Contest Club who worked tirelessly under the direction of Rusty Epps, W6OAT, and Bruce Sawyer, AA6KX. This crew is an exhausted but happy bunch. Thanks, too, to the host station owners, the officials and everyone involved!
FCC Report and Order on RF Exposure Announced:-On Aug. 1, 1996, the FCC issued a Report and Order changing dramatically the rules under which all transmitters licensed under the FCC will be operated from an RF Safety point of view. The rule goes into effect on Jan. 1, 1997. The FCC had been considering this docket (93-62) for sometime. The Telecomm Act of 1996 told the FCC to do something within 180 days from the February 1996 enactment. This R&O is the result. Unfortunately, apparently no one outside the FCC has been recently involved in the discussions and so no advance warning was given for the announcement. While there is a lot of "on the air" and Internet traffic concerning this R&O, about all that is really certain is that an Amateur Radio transmitter operating under 50 watts is exempt from the certification requirement. Previously, all Amateur Radio transmitters had been exempt. If your rig is over 50 watts then some type of calculation and certification will be required. Just what and how this will be done is very unclear at the moment. ARRL is actively working this problem from both technical and policy points of view. The text FCC R&O (ET Docket 93-62) can be found on the FCC web site under URL --- www.fcc.gov/oet/. Visit the ARRL WWW site for all the information currently known. Between now and Jan. 1, 1997, there will be lots of discussion on what this all means. There may also be Petitions for Reconsideration of the R&O filed with the FCC. Stay tuned!
The FCC Now Has a Toll Free 888 Central Number to Answer Questions:-Call (888) 322-8255 [888 FCC TALK] to learn what information the FCC National Call Center, part of the Compliance and Information Bureau, in Gettysburg, PA, delivers. The center is open 8:00 AM to 4:30 PM ET Monday thru Friday. Outside those hours there is a very rudimentary voice response system. Calls during working hours gets you to a real human being who tries to be helpful but seems not overly well informed on many aspects of the Amateur Radio Service and related matters. For example, if you want to discuss a repeater jammer problem, they tell you to contact the ARRL without giving you any clue of how to reach ARRL or who to ask for. Another example, if you want to discuss interference involving a piece of consumer home entertainment equipment, they suggest you call the manufacturer. If you ask about telephone service problems, they refer you to your state Public Utility Commission. No mention is made of existing and available FCC brochures and policy statements.
Five (5) VHF, UHF and Microwave Bands Are Now Under Active Challenge:-2m/70cm Band Threats -- There have been two more meetings of the IWG2A since the last Update. There has been no substantive discussions on removing the 144/440 bands from the list of candidate bands; no mechanism has appeared to remove them; and no effort has been launched by anyone to develop even a plan for a compatibility study for sharing. The meetings are scheduled every three weeks. ARRL will be there. It appears likely that little or nothing will happen in IWG2A until the November 1996 time frame when their report is due to the WRC97 Advisory Committee. So WHAT do we do now? 1. Monitor the progress of this unfolding drama! For the latest news on this volatile issue, read QST, ARRL Letter, Pacific Division Updates in hard copy. Read ARRL Letter, Pacific Division Updates on email; visit Pacific Division WWW site. Visit the ARRL Home page at www.arrl.org and click on "Band Threat News." 2. Join ARRL! The ARRL is the only effective national organization fighting for YOUR 2 meter and 70 cm. hand held operating privileges. It is easy to join and help us win this battle to preserve our privileges. 3. Then write. Right now--and continue through Summer and Fall! Comments by e-mail should be sent to: email@example.com. Hard copy written comments, with an original plus one copy, should be sent to: Office of the Secretary, Federal Communications Commission, Washington, DC 20554. Each comment should include at the top, "Reference No. ISP-96-005" and "Advisory Committee Informal Working Group 2A." We must keep up this activity consistently throughout the Summer and Fall until November. You can find further background information in previous Pacific Division Updates (see the Pacific Division WWW site -- pdarrl.org), QST and the ARRL WWW site.
1296 MHz Band Threat-- The following information was sent to me by John, WB6QKF, on July 22, 1996, and delivered to ARRL HQ, ARRL General Counsel, and the Pacific Division 1296 MHz Alert Team -- "I noticed the following item in GPS World magazine, July 1996, page 22, 'NEWSFRONT'. The proposed 1258.29 MHz frequency is smack in the middle of the 1240-1300 MHz Amateur Radio allocation. The GPS frequencies use a 20.46 MHz bandwidth (plus guardbands), which would eliminate amateur radio use of 1245-1270 MHz. We already lost 1215- 1240 for the GPS L2 frequency (1227.60 MHz). All GPS frequencies are on multiples of 10.23 MHz." We must act quickly to protect this valuable spectrum. In urban areas, this band is the only spectrum available for additional repeaters, especially Amateur Television, high speed data links and new modes. I am sure the military and FAA would object to use of the 1207.14 frequency as intruding on the available TACAN and DME spectrum. The GPS signals use a direct-sequence spread spectrum modulation which permits multiple satellites to transmit on the same frequencies using different modulation codes. This technique uses a lot of bandwidth, which must be protected from interference due to the extremely low signal levels received on the ground."
2400 MHz Band Threat-- On June 10, 1996, DSC Corp. of Plano TX filed a petition with FCC (RM 8837) to start a wireless local loop telephone service, using wireless to replace telephone drop lines from the pole to homes. A wide range of spectrum is involved but some of it is in the 2400 MHz Amateur Radio Service spectrum. The ARRL HQ and General Counsel are very involved and the Pacific Division 2400 MHz Alert Team has been passed the information. Unfortunately the date for filing comments on this fast track, surprise petition was Aug. 10, 1996. Fortunately, even if the petition is granted, there should be another round under a Notice of Proposed Rule Making, where all interested parties will have a chance to comment. ARRL plans to file on this matter.
5800 MHz Band Threat-- This threat is by NPRM ET Docket 96-102, based on the petitions from Apple Computer and WINForum, to grant access to the Amateur Radio Spectrum from 5725-5875 MHz band for the NII/SUPERNET proposal for free spectrum for very high data rate LANs and other activities for schools, libraries, hospitals. This is a very highly charged political matter. ARRL HQ, General Counsel, and the Pacific Division 5725-5875 MHz Alert Team are in action. Comments were filed on July 15, 1996, and Reply Comments are due Aug. 14, 1996. It is very unclear what will happen in this NPRM as the FCC Commissioners want to grant something to this service, but how far they will go is unknown. It is also clear that action will likely be taken prior to the November Presidential elections to allow maximum political benefit.
Amateur Vanity Calls Update March 24, 1995.ARRL has established a one-stop vanity call sign page at www.arrl.org/fcc/vanity.html.
Bill Introduced to Protect OO and VE Volunteers:-On March 29, 1996, Congressman Bill Baker (R-CA 10th - East Bay Section) introduced H.R. 3207, a bill to amend the Communications Act of 1934 to facilitate utilization of volunteer resources on behalf of the amateur radio service. Contact your Congressional Representatives to urge them to become co-sponsors of the bill.
Third 2.4 GHz Repeater Now Active in the Bay Area:-By the dedicated efforts of Dan Smith, K6PRK, Bob Warmke, W6CYX, and many others, there is now a third 2.4 GHz repeater active. They expect to have a fourth up shortly. Good work, guys!
Pacific Division Convention- Pacificon96 Oct. 18-20, 1996, at the Concord Hilton Hotel in Concord CA. Details can be found on the Pacific Division Home Page at www.pdarrl.org or by calling (510) 932-6125; e-mail Pacificon@designlink.com or at www.mdarc.org. The Mt. Diablo ARC (MDARC) is the sponsor again this year.
WB6WSL NEWSA packet from the Incoming Bureau brought 14 QSL cards in late July, from contacts between Aug. '94 and May, '96; including two contacts made in Feb. & March, '95, by Wes, AA6WH shortly before he became a SK. There were 7 newly-confirmed countries among the bunch, including: Brunei, Denmark, Madeira Island, Paraguay, Portugal, Venezuela, and Turkey. We now have 88 confirmed countries, 12 shy of the magic 100 mark required for the DXCC award! Thanks to all who helped make the contacts, including: Bob KD6VIO; Omri AA6TA; Mikel KN6QI; Owen KB6MER; Bjorn KN6IW; Tom AB6RG; and Rich W6APZ.
T HUNTSFREMONT - PLEASANTON T-HUNTS Sponsored by LARK-SBARA- SF Bay Hunt 6:00 pm Sat July 27 Talk-in WA6SBJ 442.625+ PL 94.8 Ron N7TVE will be the fox. Signal will be heard at Fremont. SF Bay Hunt Rules: The Fox will be within 15 miles of the SF Bay or the top of the ridge which ever comes first. The SF Bay ends at the Golden Gate and Richmond San Rafael Bridges. The Fox must state at which start point the signal will be heard. This is a cooperative hunt. Hunters are expected to work together by exchanging bearings and other information. Hunters may start anywhere as long as they "sign in". For directions please call Rich KN6FW.
Special Event StationK6BJ Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club Saturday, September 21, 1996
Please join us in celebrating 80 years as an amateur radio club. We will operate a special event station at Chews Ridge from 1800 UTC on 21 September 1996 to at least 0200 UTC on 22 September 1996 (11:00 AM to 7:00 PM local time). Local hams, within about 75 miles, can work us at 146.52 MHz. Look for us also at 7.275, 14.075, 14.275, and 28.465 MHz. Chews Ridge is located in Monterey County, California at the north end of the Los Padres National Forest, at 5000 foot elevation. Approximate coordinates: 36 deg 19 mm N by 121 deg 37 mm W. For a QSL card, send a self-addressed stamped envelope with your call sign to: Santa Cruz County Amateur Radio Club, P. 0. Box 238, Santa Cruz, CA 95061.
AMATEUR RADIO NEWSLINEWAIVER REQUEST FILED FOR 1.296-GHz MEDICAL DEVICE The FCC has received a request for a waiver of FCC limits on radiation from a medical device designed to operate at 1.296 GHz. The request comes from EDAP Technomed Inc. which manufactures a device known as the Prostatron. The Prostatron uses transurethral microwave thermotherapy to treat a human aging condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia, or simply BPH. In its filing, EDAP told the Commission that the Prostatron operates at 1.296 GHz because the wavelength is uniquely suited to the treatment process. Unfortunately, it radiates energy 67 dB above the limit set by the FCC rules. Amateur Radio has a secondary allocation on the 1.26 to 1.30 GHz band. The Federal government has the primary allocation, for radiolocation, and uses the band mostly for high power radar systems. The FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology is reviewing the request to determine if a waiver should be granted. Since many men over the age of 50 suffer from some level of discomfort brought on by BPH, it is expected that the FCC will grant a waiver in this case.
REGISTRATION FOR TALL ANTENNA STRUCTURES If your antenna structure exceeds two hundred feet you are going to have to register it with the FCC. The Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has released a Fact Sheet to explain that most antenna structures higher than 200 feet above ground level or that may interfere with the flight path of a nearby airport must be cleared by the Federal Aviation Administration and registered with the FCC. The Fact Sheet contains guidelines on applicability, registration requirements, electronic filing, and painting and lighting specifications. After registering an antenna structure with the FCC, the owner will receive a registration containing seven digit registration number that identifies the structure. The owner must provide each tenant licensee and permit holder a copy of the registration. Licensees and permittees must reference the registration number on all subsequent filings with the Commission. Most home Amateur Radio installations will not fall under the new rules but repeaters are another story. If you have a repeater or a remote base at a commercial site where the tower exceeds two hundred feet, your having a copy of the tower registration is not just a good idea. The FCC says that its mandatory. For more information, call the Wireless Telecommunications Bureau's Consumer Assistance Branch in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, at (800) 322- 1117.
SOMETHING NEW FROM SAREX Space shuttle rise and set times for SAREX missions are now being made available via the World Wide Web for 176 cities across the United States, Canada and around the world. These rise and set times let you quickly determine when the Shuttle will be above the horizon at your location. This information is available via a link from the SAREX home page on the World Wide Web.
IRELAND 50 MHz LICENSE MODIFIED Ireland's Department of Communications has dropped some of the restrictions to operations on 6 meters. The time restriction to nonbroadcasting hours which was applicable within the service area of a centrally located television transmitter is now withdrawn. Also, the time restriction to 'nonbroadcasting' hours which was applicable within 3 miles of cable TV systems is withdrawn for a trial period of one year.
NEW FRENCH 6M BULLETIN The F1FSH French Six Meter Bulletin, previously issued on packet as "@FRANCE" and "@EUROPE" will be soon broadcast "@WW." It will continue being written in French but translations to other languages will be permitted.
A HAPPY ENDING A few weeks ago we reported the story of the Phillipston Massachusetts Memorial school whose science fair featured two teens who had gathered 50,000 letters from the Internet. Well this Internet science fair debacle has had a positive side effect in educating the educators there about SAREX, The Shuttle Amateur Radio Experiment. It seems that a large number of the letters received by the two girls named Stevie and Amanda talked about school contacts to the astronauts using SAREX. This got the school interested in the program. As a result, Glen Swanson, KB1GW, of the ARRL Educational Activities Department has sent a SAREX package to Mr. William Miganowicz, the Phillipston Memorial School computer science teacher and their principal, Mr. S. Kaczmarczyk. If the school is selected for a scheduled contact, maybe Stevie and Amanda will get to ask if the world wide web reaches into space.
ARRL BoD MEETING The American Radio Relay League held its Board of Directors meeting on July 19th and 20th. We have this report: If you are a ham who operates outside of the rules that govern all radio amateurs, then the American Radio Relay League wants you off the air! At least temporarily. In a move aimed squarely at high profile and chronic regulatory violators the Leagues Board of Directors has instructed its staff and counsel to coordinate with FCC, and pursue in Congress, legislation that would permit FCC to temporarily suspend amateur operator licenses. In other words, the ARRL will ask congress to give the FCC the police power to take bad hams off the air. This, on presentation of evidence sufficient to establish intentional violation of the Communications Act or the Part 97 Amateur Service rules. As envisioned by the League's directors, termination of a hams authority to operate would be effective immediately upon issuance by FCC of a suspension order. The repeater coordination wanted the ARRL to recognize their newly formed National Frequency Coordinators Council or NFCC as the single point of contact to the FCC on issues involving repeaters. But all that they received was words. This is because the ARRL has already stated publicly that it views the NFCC structure as a good point from where to begin discussions on the single point of contact issue. As such, the League's Ad Hoc Committee on Repeater Coordination was authorized to continue discussions with the national frequency coordination group. How the NFCC views the boards action is unknown as we go to air. In a separate repeater matter, the Board authorized its staff to begin to reimburse each recognized local frequency coordination bodies for supplying repeater data without any strings attached to its use. The amount will be equivalent to what it would have cost the League to collect this data on its own. Finally, 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. This, to make testing available in even more localities across the United States. More on this meeting in future Newsline reports.
AMSAT-NA BOARD MEETS Yet another recent meeting affecting many of our listeners took place when AMSAT-North America's board of directors gathered in Silver Spring, Maryland. Topping their agenda was approval of a set of recommendations to the International Amateur Radio Unions' Future of the Amateur Service Committee. This is the group working on possible International Amateur Radio Union positions for the World Radiocommunication Conference in 1999. The IARU had asked AMSAT-North America and other overseas AMSAT organizations for their views. Particularly with respect to possible changes to international rules governing the amateur satellite service. The document approved by the AMSAT board was principally written by Ray Soifer, W2RS. Ray is AMSAT-North America's vice president for international affairs. His paper calls for retention of the current status in which the amateur service and the amateur-satellite service are defined separately. The board concluded that there are many advantages to retain these as separate services. The document also addresses both the need for satellite command stations to send encoded signals to satellites and the content of messages. Current rules governing the amateur service and the amateur satellite service are quite restrictive. The AMSAT board feels that some relaxation is called for to facilitate the transmission of scientific data via amateur satellites that may not necessarily be related to radio techniques.
CBERS "TAKE 10" Outlaw operators, presumably from the 11 meter Class D CB band, have invaded the 10 meters. N5ZGT reports from the Duke City that the illegals are on AM using 28.025, 28.043, 28.046 and 28.256 MHz. Other transmissions monitored in Los Angeles indicate that its yet another summer of illegals. One operation on 28.250 MHz appears to be part of a militant organization calling itself "Take Ten." Take Ten operators openly claim to be a group that espouses the seizing of the entire ten meter ham band for use by unlicensed operators. With its limited budget he FCC will probably not act on complaints about the activities of these illegals. Some hams are saying that the best way to handle the situation is for hams to begin some high power code practice on these frequencies with beams aimed at the offenders QTH.
SPOILING THE OSCAR BANDS Reports on the Internet say that the Swedish radio society, the SSA is going to claim a segment of the 437-438 MHz satellite frequencies for terrestrial links in the next IARU Region 1 Conference. This according to e-mail from Norbert Notthoff, DF5DP, the DARC Satellite Coordinator who says that the move will come at a meeting in Tel Aviv later this year. Norbert says that he has reviewed this situation and one in Italy, where FM repeaters are known to operate in the 70 cm OSCAR band already. He says he has obtained a book published by the Italian ARI called "CQ Europe." He says that it contains frequency tables of European countries. Not contained is information on Italy that says the reality in Italy is even much worse. Norbert has extracted files from the packet BBS network that show listings of FM voice repeaters, transponders, links, and digipeaters in the satellite band in Italy.
DX - IRISH TWO METER SIGNALS HEARD IN USA In DX, The Irish Radio Transmitting Society says that it has received an Internet message from two American hams who say that they heard the EI3DP beacon on June 21st. The IRTS says that KE4VPK and KD4RGD say that they heard the signal and are claiming a world record for the reception of these two meter signals. The two hams are said to be part of a group operating from the Wright Brothers First Flight National Monument in North Carolina.
SAFEX SPACE REPEATER IS ON THE AIR A European built FM repeater is now on the air from space. This, according to word passed down from the MIR space station by United States astronaut Shannon Lucid who says the repeater known as SAFEX came to life at on July 17th at 14:05 UTC. According to astronaut Lucid, SAFEX is using the call sign RR0DL with an uplink or input of 447.750 MHz and outputting on 437.950 MHz. Access requires a 141.3 Hz Continuous Tone Coded Squelch, better known to United States hams under the Motorola trademark of PL. Lucid says that the repeater is located in Mir's Priroda module. She adds that its wise to check 437.925 MHz for the beacon voice recorder that announces that MIR is within range of your QTH. If you happen to hear RR0DL and want to try a QSO though it, initial reports indicate that it takes at least 25 watts output into a pretty good antenna to make the trip. Dave Larsen, N6LJH, was one of the first to hear and use RR0DL. He reports on the AMSAT bulletin board that it required his use of a 35 element beam and 25 watts to access the space repeater and he has not been able to work through RR0DL with a mobile rig and a 5/8's wave antenna. This says Dave, even though MIR was in a 75 degree high elevation pass. Dave Larsen also says to remember that the MIR moves very fast across the Earth - so make your contacts as short as you can. Also remember that this is an orbital repeater so there will be discernible Doppler shift as it approaches and departs your ground location. Doppler shift is estimated at as much as plus or minus 5 KHz. And oh yes. RR0DL is one of the few repeaters that offers a QSL card for contacts made though it. DF0VR in Germany is its QSL Manager. His address is good in almost any late callbook or directory.
N6NHG HEARING DATE SET A federal magistrate has set an August 12th hearing date for convicted computer hacker Kevin David Mitnick, N6NHG. This, to hear arguments in a probation violation matter. According to word on the air in Los Angeles, the hearing was originally scheduled for July 15th. It was delayed when Mitnick petitioned to have an attorney identified as Richard Sherman to represent him. But federal prosecutors are rumored to oppose Sherman taking on Mitnick as a client. They say that he has a conflict of interest because he represented an alleged Mitnick co-conspirator. N6NHG has already admitted violating his probation by leaving the Southern California area and then allegedly hacking into computers from an apartment in Raleigh, North Carolina.
FCC CREATES A NEW LOW POWER RADIO SERVICE The FCC has adopted rules creating a new Low Power Radio Service in the 216-217 MHz band. The July 25th action means that LPRS will be authorized as a Personal Radio Service under Part 95 of the Commission's rules. The commission says that LPRS devices will be authorized on a secondary, non-interference basis. This, for short-range, lower power communications including auditory assistance devices for persons with disabilities, health care assistance devices for persons with illnesses, law enforcement tracking systems, and point-to-point network control communications for Automated Maritime Telecommunications Systems.
TACOMA INTERNET TAX If you are a ham living in Washington State you probably have heard that Tacoma, Washington is the latest city to impose a six percent tax on companies that connect people to the Internet. In addition to the tax on gross receipts generated within city limits, Tacoma wants Internet Providers to obtain a $72 annually renewable Internet business license. The taxes apply not just to Internet access firms in Tacoma, but any that have customers in the city. In other words, if your Internet provider connects you to a site in Tacoma, it would be liable for this tax, which would probably be passed along to you. According to news reports, six states and two other cities also have taxes on Internet connection services. Ironically, Tacoma sits adjacent to Seattle which is the home of the worlds largest software provider, Microsoft. Microsoft has already set its legal department to work to stop the new Tacoma Internet tax. Hams do have an alternative, at least in messaging. It's called packet radio. Its slower than the Internet, and not as reliable. Then again it is tax free. At least it is, right now!
FCC PREEMPTS LOCAL ANTENNA REGULATIONS The FCC has adopted rules to prevent local governments from restricting the rights of homeowners and businesses to install television antennas and satellite dishes. These new regulations could also stop municipalities from restricting most two-way radio antenna systems, including those of licensed radio amateurs. The new rules were enacted on Tuesday August 6th and prohibit the enforcement of local laws, rules, private covenants and homeowner association regulations that in any way interfere with television reception. This includes over the air broadcast stations, satellite delivered services and microwave delivered wireless cable systems. Enactment of these far reaching regulations is based on a regulatory interpretation issued earlier this year. At that time the commission acted to prevent any and all entities from restricting the installation of the popular pizza sized direct to consumer pay television systems. Broadcasters and other RF based delivery services that compete with cable systems claimed that regulations governing antennas for their services made interference free delivery difficult. As a result broadcasters saw the satellite television gaining an unfair advantage and began pushing for a similar exemption. The result is the across the board action that bans restrictions on all over the air television delivery services. The new regulations do grant communities some leeway in interpretation. For instance, communities can still enforce local safety rules even if such regulations hinder reception. This includes banning the installation of antennas on fire escapes. Antennas can also be restricted in regions that are considered to be historical districts but do not cover the installation of antennas on common property found in many planned communities. Also excluded is the placement of antennas on rental property, but the FCC says that it wants to receive comments on rules that could be enacted to protect those involved in rental situations. Don't look for any immediate help to ham radio. The action covers only antennas and satellite dishes specifically intended for the reception of television signals. But it does open the door for FCC action on a similar request by the two-way radio industry. The two-way folks filed a request to the FCC late last year asking the commission to ban any and all local restrictions on communications antennas. If the FCC decides to invoke extended preemption for the two way radio industry, it may not be impossible for restrictions to be selectively enforced against the nations Amateur Radio community. Stay tuned, this is just the beginning.
NEW HAM RADIO RF SAFETY STANDARDS New FCC RF safety standards effective January 1, 1997, could affect the way some hams operate, including those using vehicle-mounted antennas. The changes to ham radio are far reaching and come in the wake of a Report and Order on RF safety adopted by the FCC on August 1. As a result, the Part 97 Amateur Service rules will now require hams running more than 50 W PEP to conduct routine RF radiation evaluations. This, to determine if RF fields are sufficient to cause human exposure to RF radiation levels in excess of those specified. Where routine evaluation indicates that the RF radiation could be in excess of the limits, hams will be forced by law to take action to immediately remedy the situation. According to the FCC, this could mean altering operating patterns, relocating the antenna, revising the station's technical parameters and other remedies. Exactly what is involved in conducting a 'routine RF radiation evaluation' is not yet clear. These guidelines will have to be established by the FCC. Speculation is that they could be as simple as field measurements with some form of RF sniffer to as complicated as a full blown environmental impact study. Nobody knows for sure. The ARRL says that it is now studying the 100 plus page docket, to see if the League should seek reconsideration of any aspects of the FCC decision. Executive Vice President Dave Sumner, K1ZZ notes that the FCC expects it will not be difficult for most amateur stations to show that the specified limits will be met. Sumner says that for high-power mobile operation and for operation with indoor antennas, particularly in apartment buildings and other situations where there is ''uncontrolled exposure'' to neighbors and the general public, ''amateurs may well have to make changes in how they operate.'' K1ZZ says the ARRL Lab staff and the RF Safety Committee will be evaluating the new requirements. The new regulations also will require the addition of five questions on RF environmental safety be added to the amateur examinations for Novice, Technician, and General class. Sumner notes that the Commission's Report and Order does not take into account the practical problems associated with such a significant revision to the volunteer administered amateur examinations, and that more time than the Commission has allowed will be required to do a good job. This is obviously a developing story. We will have more in future Newsline reports.
SPACE STATION Also, plans for the International Space Station include digital, SSTV and ATV modes as well as the traditional transponder FM, SSB and CW modes. Likely bands are 21 to 28 MHz on SSB as well as 144, 435 and 1260 MHz. It is anticipated that all operations will utilize external antennas installed during a space-walk.
NEW RF SAFETY STANDARDS The new government mandated RF safety standards for ham radio operations that were announced last week are causing cries of indignation from many in the Amateur Radio community. Hams are saying that they don't want them and some say that they are readying legal challenges to stop their implementation.
The new rules announced by the FCC take effect on January 1, 1997. They will impact on the way hams running 50 watts or more peak envelope power out, on any band, operate. Also, on the way every radio amateur interfaces with the non ham community. This is because the FCC now will require hams to consider the possibility of health problems related to radio frequency energy exposure from their stations to members of the general public. In its Report and Order on ET docket 93-82, the Commission adopted Maximum Permissible Exposure limits for electric and magnetic field strength and power density for transmitters operating at frequencies from 300 KHz to 100 GHz. This includes transmitters used in the Amateur radio service. These new MPE limits are generally based on recommendations of the National Council on Radiation Protection and Measurement. In some respects, they are also based on the guidelines issued by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and subsequently adopted by the American National Standards Institute. In formulating the new rules the Commission used the 1992 ANSI and IEEE standards instead of the 1982 ANSI standards. The 1982 standards had formed the basis for the existing rules under which Amateur Radio stations were categorically exempted. And judging by conversations heard on the air, monitored on packet and going on the Internet, the ham radio community wants the old standard put back in place.
While ARRL Executive Vice president Dave Sumner, K1ZZ writes that the FCC expects it will not be difficult for most amateur stations to show that the specified limits will be met, hams are not convinced. Most fear that the enactment of these new RF exposure guidelines will give new legal arguments to states and municipalities to ban not just antennas and towers, but also the operation of radio transmitters as well. Hams also worry that the federal, state and local bureaucracies will each place individual demands on ham stations to prove compliance through costly scientific testing. Testing that some say, no ham could afford. Also worrying hams is the question of personal liability. Many Internet postings note that there are a lot of lawyers looking to make names for themselves by soliciting cases that hold the possibility of setting legal precedents. Many wonder who will be the first target of one of these career seeking legal minds willing to bankrupt a ham just to put his name in the ranks of legal experts on another innocuous cause celebe. As we go to air, it is not clear as to exactly what is involved in conducting a routine RF radiation evaluation. Dave Sumner says that the commission has promised to release a revised bulletin titled Evaluation Compliance with FCC Specified Guidelines for Human Exposure to Radio Frequency Radiation. It is hoped that document will spell out the level of involvement and monetary expenditure of RF compliance certification that will be required by hams. In the meantime, the ARRL says that it is studying the 100 plus page docket, to see if the League should seek reconsideration of any aspect of the
FCC decision. Even if the League does not file a challenge, from what we are reading on the Internet, it seems likely that more than a few individual hams will.
NEW LIFE FOR OLD HEATHKITS? If you are a Heathkit aficionado, listen up. The ARRL Lab's Mike Tracy, KC1SX, says that he has uncovered a possible source for surplus Heathkit parts that Heath sold off a number of years ago. It's a company called Spectrum Electronics located in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Mike Tracy says that although Spectrum Electronics is strictly a repair business, if you let them know what specific Heath part number you are looking for, they may be able to provide it. However, he emphasizes that you must be specific and you must supply exact part numbers.
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