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Dr Joe Palsa
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Joe Palsa, Virginia Section Manager, K3WRY@ARRL.ORG,

Ed Krom, VIrginia SEC, WD4KHP@ARRL.NET


                       All Virginia Hams and ARRL Members 03/13/2019

IMMEDIATE:  Virginia QSO Party this weekend  03/16-17/2019. This is our party and it gives all hams the chance to exercise their SSB, CW and digital systems as well as QRP and mountain topping opportunities. So let’s all get on the air set a new record of hams on the air in Virginia. _VQP/2019_VQP_Main.html

A quick follow up to our 2019 Virginia Legislative activities. After all the give and take in House and Senate committees and us getting most of the wording we wanted, ultimately at end of the sessions, both groups could not agree to the final wording and the bill did not make it to floor for a vote. But, please remember, the vocal public groups will keep trying to get full hands free cell phone bills passed, and these bills are where we must be careful of the language to include exempting the use of amateur radios. Our Virginia legislative liaison as well club members who worked on these bills this year will all continue to carefully monitor the legislature in the future.

OK, we are in Hamfest and Contest season. Also we also getting close to Hurricane season. The Midwest and Southeast have already seen many destructive tornados and flooding because of heavy rains.

The new ARES CONNECT program has been launched. Those of you who are ARES members have a variety of opinions as to getting the program working for you. Yes, this is a new program with all of its problems and aggravation and advantages. Remember, this program is a living document system. Changes will continue to occur when deemed necessary by your activities. This program is similar to Googles apps.  For ARES members, CONNECT organizes ARES information and makes it universally accessible and useful to all members as well as the ARRL. Those of you who have spent the time getting familiar with the program are already seeing its advantages to ARES individuals and teams.

As part of new emphasis on ARES and emergency communications, the new ARRL free emergency communications program has proved extremely popular already. Initial plans and FEMA requirements have already been modified in the member levels initially proposed. As I said earlier, this whole program is a living program, subject to change as required. Nothing is set in stone forever.

With 2017 and 2018 storm seasons showing the severe weather changes occurring around the world and the destructive storms we have all witnessed, emergency communications has been raised to new heights.

The federal government has realigned some services, and has also tried to increase the interoperability of all EMS, FIRE, POLICE, RESCUE, etc. agencies with FIRST NET. ATT has won the 25 year contract to develop what is really a hardened cell based network that will have a special frequency band, hardened tower sites, special cell equipment to operate on these bands, etc.  Emergency agencies all over the country will pay a monthly fee, buy this special equipment and then have the ability with this equipment, to communicate with each other, anywhere, anytime, without fear of overloading, interference, and other problems normally associated with current, individual agency radio or cell systems.

Everyone must still remember that regardless of how sophisticated and hardened the FRST NET systems will be---if/when Mother Nature or some man- made disaster  occurs destroying everything in its path,  Amateur Radio can still be available due to its self sufficiency, in the background and still will be recognized as backup communications again, when all else fails. I as ARRL Virginia’s Section manager, along with my professional education and experience with Civilian and Military communications experience have a seat on the Virginia Statewide Interoperability Executive Committee. This allows Amateur Radio to have a voice in Virginia as well as plans developed as recommendations to our states agencies.

As you may recall, the ARRL has a renewed MOU with the National RED CROSS.  As part of new MOU, individual ARES and as well as private EMCOMM groups can develop local or state wide MOU’s with their own local/State RED CROSS groups with the blessing of the National officials.

Recently a meeting was requested by the Virginia RED CROSS to discuss a relationship with Virginia ARES and Amateur Radio for emergency communications when needed by the RED CROSS between emergency/disaster sites and local chapters as well as shelters and state government agencies.

Attending this meeting for ARRL was Bud Hippisley, Director Roanoke Division, Dr Joe Palsa, Section Manager, and John Roberts Virginia SEC. For the RED CROSS, Roger Hudson, Virginia Region Mass Care, Meredith Snellings, Disaster Program Manager, Vincent Poto, Disaster Cycle Services, other RED CROSS volunteers.  This meeting was to review the status of amateur radio equipment and other communications that is still owned by RED CROSS. Is was found that much of equipment owned, is gone. To simplify my report here, the RED CROSS will now perform an internal analysis of exactly what equipment is still available and its condition. When this information is complete, meetings will be required for the overall planning of amateur radio support. Decisions will be made to design go kits for each chapter location. This step will reveal the contents of equipment and antennas needed to match geographical locations, number of shelters in the area and other factors. Further meetings will be required for the overall planning of amateur radio support. We are aware that there are ARES and other EMCOMM groups that have excellent organizations and equipment caches, etc.. Contact with these groups is planned and cooperative efforts will be put forward to utilize them as part of the overall Virginia Amateur Radio support for the RED CROSS in Virginia.  Again this is a living plan that will be modified and redesigned as needs arise.

In other activities in Virginia, April 26-28 there will be VHF Super Conference in Sterling VA.

Manassas VA Hamfest will have a new location this year. Sat June 15

These are some highlights happening in Virginia.

Dr Joe Palsa

Virginia Section Manager



Virginia Officials