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ARRL Sections - Virginia



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Dr Joe Palsa
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Sorry this report is a bit late, but lots of things were happening during this first week of the month. First I would like to report that the Richmond Telecommunications Society (RATS) FROSTFEST Hamfest is now history.

I am pleased to report that the Hamfest was an outstanding success once again for the RATS club. Attendance was up again, I will report that after the club report is available. The commercial vendors,  flea market subscribers, VE testing , forum speakers and their subjects all reported good attendance and great subject interests. 

This being an ARRL State Convention forum, as well as the Virginia State ARES forum, high attendance was reported with lots of interactive question sessions. Bud Hippisley , W2RU, our Roanoke Division Director was the ARRL speaker and he gave insight into the workings of ARRL HQ operations as well as the ARRL Board of Directors and how the ARRL actually operates internally. Many questions were asked about various Programs and how they are decided upon and managed. He explained the complexities of the decision makings and why things just do not happen overnight. 

The ARES forum was a great success because it gave John Roberts our Virginia SEC time to review and explain current ARES activities as well as our planning objectives.  The new ARES Strategic Plan we announced last month was detailed by the actual planning committee members with much discussion and Q & A, with attendees.  As I noted last month and during this meeting, our future planning is based on numerous factors.

Use of actual experience of the planners, rules of ARES, rules of DHS & FEMA, and finally rules of the state of Virginia Emergency Management.

The CONNECT registrations are going great. More local agencies  such as , city of Petersburg and Hopewell are signed up now.


The conclusive statement is that our Strategic Plan is a living document. This plan exists to provide the guidelines, requirements and training in support of Federal, State and Local agencies, as well all citizens of Virginia and our Country that we serve and support in any emergency and/or disaster. 


Our next meeting with VDEM is in two weeks and I will report on that meeting in my March report.


Ed Gibbs, KW4GF, who is our Virginia Section PIC is now publishing a section newsletter. His new email is KW4GF@ARRL.NET.  Anyone who has ham radio news, awards, meetings, hamfests, etc. they want to get published to all hams in Virginia as well as anyone viewing his web page contact him directly. This especially is directed to all club PIO’s.  This information can also be directed to me to include my monthly reports.


Operation Grid Failure exercise held on Jan 18, 2020 was as we understand, declared  a success. Reading many of the after action reports, showed great cooperation of a significant number of local agencies , ARES groups and AUXCOMM groups (20+). Over 100+ operators from these agencies and groups as well another 25+ individual operators took part.  Quite a lot of digital traffic generated and passed along with WINLINK and other modes. Kudos to W4GHS and his AUXCOMM groups for another great exercise.


 Vienna Wireless Society Winterfest Hamfest will be held March 29. This is an ARRL event.  This will also be an AUXCOMM Conference with ARES, SKYWARN, and Winlink forums.

Inside as well as outside fleamarkets will be available.  ARRL First Vice President Mike Raisbeck, K1TWF from the League Headquarters, as the Virginia Section and Roanoke Division ARRL leaders will be in attendance. The AUXCOMM Conference will be keynoted by John Peterson, N4KEA from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).


Winter Field Day was great fun for a number clubs around the state.

Powhatan Radio Club, was able to use the counties emergency services trailer and equipment. Over 20 members were active and hung temporary wire antennas in the state park trees. They had a blast (according to

them) and made over two hundred contacts. I also heard, some ladies brought cookies and some home cooked food.

Virginia QSO Party will be coming on March 21-22. More details at:


Legislation activities are hot and heavy in Virginia this time of year.

We are getting close when House and Senate bills are swapped for reviews by opposites and final versions of all bills, get dropped, pushed back, or if lucky get sent to the governor. So far the new distracted driving bills from both groups has similar language and exemptions for amateur radio and some other radio operations. We always hold our breath because at the very last minute (literally) someone can sneak in a few changing words.


The new RATS mesh network network in the Rchmond area is up and running.

More info:


VIRGINIA SCHEDULES ANNUAL STATEWIDE TORNADO DRILL FOR MARCH 17 RICHMOND — The National weather Service and The Virginia Department of Emergency Management have scheduled the 2020 Virginia’s Statewide Tornado Drill for Tuesday, March 17 at 9:45 a.m. If widespread severe weather threatens the Commonwealth on that date, the drill will be rescheduled for Wednesday, March 18, at 9:45 a.m. The annual Statewide Tornado Drill is an opportunity to prepare Virginians for tornado threats and to test public warning systems.


The drill will start at approximately 9:45 a.m. with a test tornado warning sent in the form of a required monthly test by the National Weather Service to National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration

(NOAA) weather radios and local broadcasters.


Since this year's drill will use the required monthly test, most NOAA weather radios will NOT automatically sound an alert tone alert. For those participating in the drill, including schools and businesses, turn on your NOAA Weather Radio by 9:40 am and listen to the voice broadcast.

Those listening to the broadcast will hear the audible test alert broadcast at 9:45 am. Local radio stations, TV stations and cable outlets will also broadcast the test message via the Emergency Alert System (EAS). Information and resources are available at


“When a tornado warning is issued, that isn’t the time to figure out how to keep your loved ones, coworkers, friends and neighbors safe.

Virginians should use the statewide tornado drill on March 17 as an opportunity to test their tornado emergency procedures and discuss preparedness efforts for these deadly and unexpected storms which can touch down in Virginia throughout the year,” said Virginia Department of Emergency Management State Coordinator Dr. Jeff Stern.


“Tornadoes can occur any month of the year. In 2019, 19 confirmed tornadoes touched down throughout the Commonwealth impacting 21 different jurisdictions,” said Jeff Orrock of the National Weather Service in Wakefield. “Looking back over the past decade, tornadoes occurred in every year, though there were active and quiet tornado years. 2011, 2016 and 2018 were the deadliest years for tornadoes while

2004 was by far the most active year with over 80 tornadoes reported that year. 2007 was the quietest with only two tornadoes recorded.”

Tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year, but are most likely from April through September. Have a plan, know your location and surroundings and have a way to receive Watches and Warnings from the National Weather Service. Check to see if your smartphone is set to receive Wireless Emergency Alerts. When a tornado watch is issued for your area, review your plan and know where to seek safe shelter when a tornado warning is issued.

For more information about tornado preparedness, visit


We do not have any specific plans to announce at this time for ARES or other groups.


"You are what you do, When it counts"

"No Trees were destroyed in the sending of this message, however, a significant number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced"


Dr Joe Palsa

ARRL Section Manager




Virginia Officials

  • Joseph Palsa

    Section Manager,
    State Government Liaison

    Joseph G. Palsa K3WRY

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  • John Roberts

    Section Emergency Coordinator,
    Assistant Section Manager

    John C. Roberts WB4AXY

  • John Johnson

    Section Traffic Manager

    John D. Johnson K0IBS

  • John Kanode

    Assistant Section Manager

    John C. Kanode N4MM

  • James Ritterbusch

    Assistant Section Manager

    James F. Ritterbusch WO4X

  • Edward Gibbs

    Public Info Coordinator

    Edward P. Gibbs KW4GF

  • Howard Wood

    Technical Coordinator

    Howard E. Wood WA4PGI

  • Edward Krom

    Assistant Section Manager

    Edward V. Krom WD4KHP

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  • Rue Stuteville

    Assistant Section Manager

    Rue O. Stuteville W4RUE

  • Andrea Wayward

    Assistant Section Manager

    Andrea L. Wayward KG4IUM

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  • Donald Lynch

    Assistant Section Manager

    Donald F. Lynch W4ZYT

  • Ken Longnecker

    Public Info Coordinator

    Ken T. Longnecker KN4BAF

  • William Collins

    Affiliated Club Coordinator

    William David Collins N4WDC

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