August/September 2017 Virginia Section Manager Report
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our
ARRL VIRGINIA SECTION August/September 2017 REPORT
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
This a dual month report because of typical summer season of travel and vacations.
Hurricane season is underway and we have had a couple of named storms and tropical depressions already. Thank goodness, we have not had confrontations as yet this season. Unfortunately tornado season has had numerous outbreaks and serious damage in several areas of the country.
FirstNet, the federal Interoperability programs has kicked off with several states signing up, Virginia being the first to sign up. As you all may or may not know this the Federal program that is supposed to establish a nationwide system of Communications Interoperability between all Public Safety, EMS and other emergency agencies. With AT&T being the prime contractor for 25 years, this is going to be an interesting evolution in future communications. The ability of all types of device systems to be able to communicate with each during emergency or disaster events is the goal. There would be no more excuses of the police cannot talk to the Fire Department, EMS, Heavy rescue, and many other agencies, etc..
My personal opinion with regard to Amateur Radio and ARES/RACES communications support of our citizens, local, state, and federal agencies is as follows: We have seen the evolution of communications in just the last 10 years, let alone the last century. We have thousands of types of communications devices, both wired and wireless. All of these devices, analog and digital, wired and wireless, ground based or satellite based require power sources, antennas of some type, interconnections of various types, etc.. This is progress, this was the future 20 years ago and still is the future today.
BUT-there are a few things thing’s that we cannot control; and that is mother nature, or some deranged human beings and/or governments. With that being said, as an example, SANDY the major storm we had a few years ago, destroyed infrastructure, power sources, radio towers, 30+ % of all cell towers in three states, thousands of homes and businesses as well as hundreds of lives. The latest and most wonderful technologies were destroyed. What do you do now to help your citizens and local/regional governments and public safety agencies with this kind of destruction ?
Ham Radio was and still is greatest “When All Else Fails” emergency communications support in the world today. Modes of voice, analog as well as digital communications, direct digital communications, satellite communications, various video capabilities are all part of Ham Radio today. We can copy and interface with Public Safety and all types of other agencies in any emergency. We have trained hams as communicators. We have volunteer groups of ARES/RACES and other groups that have equipment available including power sources to establish communications within hours and sometimes within minutes of emergencies and/or disasters. The federal government has it’s ideas and plans and hearts in the right places.
BUT REMEMBER hams are the “SOUL” of emergency communications support around the world until the government can get their organized support facilities functioning, as long as they are not destroyed.
Now speaking of the government and communications, the Federal Government has recently reminded us that simply stated; Any medical facility that accepts Medicare or Medicaid (hospitals, clinics, doctors office, dialysis centers, etc.) will be required to have a tested backup communications system by mid-November of this year.
Ok---Now that I have been long winded, I urge all hams to consider what you can do to learn about Amateur Radio emergency communications from your local clubs, ARES/RACES groups, FEMA on line training web site, and your local CERT training facilities.
Field day was Blast with everyone having a good time, exercising their equipment, antennas and much great food and companionship. While we had over 60 field day locations operating around Virginia, I was lucky enough to visit several sites on Saturday as Sunday required church ministry obligations. The Richmond area clubs even provided the opportunity over 30+ potential hams to take their tests during the event. There even were persons that went from 0 to Extra at one sitting. This is a great event for the public to see and hear Amateur Radio in operation. It also shows local agency emergency management officials to see hams in operation and in a number of locations. As an example, Powhatan County, used this event to showcase the county Emergency Communications capabilities.
I am going to repeat the following because of its importance: ARRL Field Services staff made a concerted effort to improve reporting within the ARES program. The objective is to use information, submitted from ARRL Emergency Coordinators (which is derived from monthly reports by Emergency Coordinators and District Emergency Coordinators) to generate a basic report showing the value that ARES provides to our communities, states and the nation through collaboration with partners at all levels.
The VIRGINIA SEC and his staff have increased their efforts to get ALL our ARES county and district EC’S to do their monthly reports. These reports are CRITICAL for the ARRL as well as our state officials to know how MANY and WHERE emergency communicators are available, if and when they are needed. ARES nets are held for a reason. Every net allows ARES as well as ANY ham to check into each net. This gives each ham the opportunity to test and check their equipments operation. If and when an emergency may happen, they know their equipment is in working condition. ALL EMCOMM as well as SKYWARN members are encouraged to check into these nets. Cooperation is CRITICAL to effective emergency communications.
Please make use of our ARES/RACESofVA, FACEBOOK page.
Greg Butler, KW6GB continues to operate a WINLINK weekly check-in session, basically every Wednesday (full 24 hours). This allows all Virginia ARES/RACES members as well ANY ham operator that is interested in how to use WINLINK and test effective coverage across Virginia. The sessions information can be followed on our ARES/RACESofVA FACEBOOK page. We are now getting over 60+ check-ins each week from all corners of the state of Virginia.
P2P SESSIONS: Morning session: ~0730-0930L, 3590 kHz (dial, USB). The afternoon/evening session will start on 40m if conditions allow, then move to 80m as needed. .
WHO: All amateur radio operators located in Virginia.
WHAT: VA ARES/RACES WINLINK Net
WHEN: Anytime on Wednesday
HOW: This net will accept check-ins via WINLINK only. Please do not use a telnet connection (which defeats the purpose of WINLINK.
Subject: //WL2K VA ARES/RACES WINLINK Net Check-In
call sign, first name, city or town, county, state (HF or VHF)
KW6GB, Greg, Front Royal, Warren, VA (HF)
These sessions check-ins have been increasing weekly and we are over 60+ messages per session from all over Virginia.
Virginia SKYWARN programs continue play a critical role in all types of storm emergencies. It is important to understand that our technical abilities to forecast weather, use of radar, satellites, etc. has improved our warning and reporting, however, nothing can beat an actual person giving a visual account from actual ground level observations.
2017 Hurricane forecasters have increased their number of named storms slightly as well as their number of storms overall. They still believe that the El Nino will not really materialize this summer.
SENATE BILL S.1534
We are getting close to getting the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 hopefully passed by the Senate this year. ARRL has opened a RallyCongress page https://arrl.rallycongress.net/ Contact your local senator to support this bill.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Be sure and check the Ready Virginia web page for emergency preparedness. https://www.ready.gov/virginia . This page includes what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area.
The National traffic systems continue to utilize very dedicated hams. Traffic remains steady, but slow. We encourage all hams to learn about the ARRL traffic system as it is still in daily use as well as during emergencies. Please support your local NTS operators.
EVENTS IN THE WORLD OF HAM RADIO
· July 29 -- Feld Hell Sprint
· July 29-30 -- RSGB IOTA Contest (CW, phone)
· July 30 -- ARS Flight of the Bumblebees (CW)
· August 3 -- NRAU 10-Meter Activity Contest (CW, phone, digital)
· August 5 -- European HF Championship (CW, phone)
· August 5 -- WAB 144 MHz Low Power Phone
· August 5-6 -- North American QSO Party (CW)
· August 5-6 -- ARRL 222 MHz and Up Distance Contest
· August 5-6 -- 10-10 International Summer Contest (CW, phone)
· August 6 -- SARL HF Phone Contest
· August 8 -- ARS Spartan Sprint (CW)
· August 9 -- NAQCC CW Sprint
Please Check the ARRL web site, http://www.arrl.net, for all the latest major and national ARRL and world amateur radio event’s, contest’s and meetings.
REMEMBER----Education is the key to your success, both in Ham Radio as well as in your life..
Dr. Joe Palsa
Virginia Section Manager