AMSAT-NA AMSAT News Service

May 9, 2004

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AMSAT Files Comments with FCC on BPL

Dr. Perry I. Klein, W3PK, AMSAT Vice President, Government Liaison, reports that comments to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making on Access Broadband over Power Line Systems (BPL) have been filed expressing AMSAT's concern on the potential for interference that these systems represent to the amateur satellite community.

While a lot of attention has been paid to the impact to HF operations, AMSAT raises the concern that harmonics and intermodulation products could extendthe potential for interference well into VHF and UHF frequencies. AMSAT quoted existing Part 15 rules:

"To determine compliance with the radiated emission limits, if the highest frequency generated or used in the device, or on which device operates or tunes is 10 MHz, the upper frequency to be examined is 500 MHz."

AMSAT pointed out that 500 MHz is FIFTY TIMES 10 MHz and noted that the Commission, in this instance, was clearly concerned with harmonics, and possibly other out-of-band emissions. Nevertheless, AMSAT observed that no such language appears in the new rules proposed for Broadband over Power Lines in the Docket.

AMSAT also addressed a broader issue of the risk posed by the high voltage involved in BPL systems. AMSAT believes that a potential risk could be present by the existence of "couplers" or similar devices installed across transformers. If a short-circuit should occur in one of these devices, dangerously high voltages could be conducted to homes and offices, with potentially fatal results.

AMSAT urges the Commission NOT to allow Access BPL systems, even at current Part 15 radiation limits, and certainly not at higher ones as many of its proponents urge, until it has had a chance to review all of the National Telecommunications and Information Administration's (NTIA) analyses, including that to be contained in its planned Phase II report.

AMSAT also urges the Commission NOT to allow any further deployment of Access BPL systems until these steps have been taken and until the Commission has had an opportunity to assess ALL the aspects of Access BPL, including the potential interference threat posed by harmonics and other out-of-band radiation. This assessment should, of course, include a thorough review of the NTIA Phase II report. Furthermore, existing Access BPL systems should be shut down pending the outcome of this assessment.

The full text of AMSAT's comments can be found at http://www.amsat.org/amsat/amsat-na/filings/et-04-37-comments.pdf

Perry noted that a lot of hard work and study went into getting these comments filed with the FCC in a timely manner. Ray Soifer, W2RS and Bill Tynan, W5XO were instrumental in helping pull these comments together along with contributions from other AMSAT Board members and officers.

[ANS thanks Perry, W3PK for the above information]

SDR and Spectrum Use Comments Filed with FCC

Dr. Perry I. Klein, W3PK, AMSAT Vice President, Government Liaison, reports that comments to the FCC's Notice of Proposed Rule Making on the feasibility of allowing unlicensed devices to operate at higher powers than is currently authorized under Part 15 rules, in "rural areas" operating at 2400 - 2450 MHz, 5725 - 5875 MHz and 24.0 - 24.25 GHz. Also included in this NPRM is the issue of the potential misuse of high speed Digital to Analog Converters (DACs) and Software Defined Radios (SDR).

Regarding an increase in authorized power for Part 15 devices, AMSAT noted that 2400 - 2450 MHz, 5725 - 5875 MHz and 24.0 - 24.25 GHz are also available for use by the amateur-satellite service. Part 15 devices, notably wireless LANs, already represent a significant source of interference to amateurs attempting to use satellite downlinks at 2401 MHz. In some areas, the interference is so severe as to preclude operation altogether. AMSAT believes that the segment 2400 - 2417 MHz which is allocated to the amateur service on a primary basis should be afforded protection from higher power Part 15 devices.

Also included in this NPRM is the issue of the potential misuse of high speed DACs and SDRs. The proposed rule-change directly affects all radio amateurs, including those who will be using amateur radio satellites in the future. One problem is that limiting the transmission ability to amateur bands, prevents HF software defined radios from being used as wideband IFs in conjunction with transverters to access the microwave bands. Such transverters are frequently used in connection with both terrestrial and satellite applications for reception and transmission on various microwave bands. A rule such as that proposed by the Commission will, in our opinion, severely inhibit development and introduction of devices which might otherwise prove beneficial to radio amateurs and the general public.

AMSAT contends that a better way to deal with infractions committed by those misusing such high speed DACs, or any other transmitting device, would be on an individual basis, rather that penalizing everyone merely to head off infractions which can only be speculated on at this time. AMSAT urges that the Commission not impose any restrictions on the development and marketing of high speed DACs or require that hardware devices to prevent transmission outside amateur bands, be required to be installed in software defined radios.

The full text of AMSAT's comments can be found at http://www.amsat.org/amsat/amsat-na/filings/et-03-108-comments.pdf

Perry noted that a lot of research and hard work went into getting these comments filed with the FCC in a timely manner. Ray Soifer, W2RS and Bill Tynan, W5XO were instrumental in helping pull these comments together along with contributions from other AMSAT Board members and officers.

[ANS thanks Perry, W3PK for the above information]

Report on the 41st Space Congress

One of the objectives identified during the Strategic Planning Meeting held last February was to begin an on-going effort to develop points of contact and relationships within the space industry to further the mission and vision of AMSAT. Board Member, Lou McFadin, W5DID and Board Alternate, Lee McLamb, KU4OS attended the 41st Space Congress in Cape Canaveral, FL 27-29 April 2004 in support of that effort. Some of the attendees and panelists were already familiar with AMSAT from previous projects and indicated a willingness to assist in the future.

Details about Space Congress and the overall agenda can be found at www.spacecongress.org

[ANS thanks Lee, KU4OS for the above information]

ARISS Status 03 May 2004

ESA Article on ARISS Radio Contact

The European Space Agency ran an article on their web page about the ARISS contact between Andre Kuipers, PI9ISS, and the school children who were winners of the Zeg het ISS competition. See http://www.esa.int/export/SPECIALS/Delta_Mission/SEMWAW67ESD_0.html

ARISS Attends 2004 Wheels and Wings Airshow

ARISS supported an airshow/amateur radio event in Millville, New Jersey on May 1 & 2. The ARISS poster used during the IMAX premiere was on display and members of AMSAT were in attendance to answer questions regarding the ARISS program.

ARISS Presentation at Dayton Hamvention 2004

On May 15, ARISS Chairman, Frank Bauer, KA3HDO, will give a presentation entitled, "AMSAT's Future Role in Human Spaceflight Exploration -- ARISS, the Moon and Mars," at the Dayton Hamvention 2004. AMSAT and ARRL will both have exhibits at the event, which will run from Friday, May 14 through Sunday, May 16 in Dayton, Ohio. For further information, see the ARRL article, entitled, "Hamvention to combine awards presentation, prize drawings," at http://www.arrl.org/ and see AMSAT's agenda, http://www.amsat.org/amsat/activities/dayton/dayton04.html

Crew Debrief Questions Compiled

ARISS team members continue to generate questions for the debriefing session with Mike Foale. The team is looking for recommendations for improving school contacts, as well as technical information concerning the radio systems, and computer availability on the ISS.

[ANS thanks Carol for the above information]

This Week's News in Brief

Weekly Satellite Report

Link to the weekly report on satellite ...

All Satellites
ISS. RS-12. RS-13. RS-15. AO-7. AO-10. UO-11. UO-14. AO-16. LO-19. FO-20. UO-22. KO-23. KO-25. IO-26. AO-27. FO-29. GO-32. SO-33. PO-34. UO-36. AO-40. SO-41. SO-42. NO-44. NO-45. MO-46. AO-49. SO-50


Please send any amateur satellite news or reports to the ANS Editors at ans-editor@amsat.org

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This week's AMSAT News Service bulletins were edited by AMSAT News Service Editor Lee McLamb, KU4OS, ku4os@amsat.org

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