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

Ed Krom, VIrginia SEC, WD4KHP@ARRL.NET


 2019 October Virginia Section Update Letter

This is another update of Virginia Section activities since several subjects of interest have occurred since my September letter. First I wanted let everyone know that our Virginia Section ARES meeting we had at the Virginia Beach Hamfest had about 40+ people present. Unfortunately we did not have many from the western and north western part of the state. However, we did have people from North, Central and Eastern Virginia. Discussions were had about most of the subjects we discussed in our Feburary meeting. The meeting lasted almost 4 hours with a lunch timeout. This was the weekend of Doria so I am sure some people preferred to stay home or were tied up with the storm like Bill Morine N2COP our Roanoke Division Vice Director who was in Wilmington, NC.


ARES CONNECT is going well, we have hundreds of people registered so far and more are joining each day. Like we initially said, this is a work in progress. Some people around the country are asking, why do we get points ?? HQ is listening and telling us this is a method of seeing how much activity is occurring, i.e. training, meeting, nets, exercises, events, etc.. This helps with knowing the strengths of ARES groups. Some think and act like it is a contest, this is NOT a contest. It is an important measure of our training and communication expertise. I know this is repeating, but It is critical to understand because of Federal mandates that have come about in recent years, formal training and certification in emergency communication practices and procedures have gone from recommended to essential. Emergency preparedness today, requires more than just knowing how to work a radio or put up an antenna. Integration of all facets supporting an emergency or disaster is the keyword for all services involved. This why the same formal emergency management practices must be learned and used. We as ARES will be trained in accordance with federal Standards, thereby allowing trained and certified ARES member to fit into emergency event if invited or required. Remember we do not deploy on our own, we must be asked/invited to assist by the agency event director/coordinator. In every meeting we have members and groups that are extremely advanced in training with multiple abilities in digital communications, mobile vans, and the most modern equipment. In addition, they have the upmost cooperation of their local governmental agencies with both financial as well as integration with local government agencies. I repeat again, this is the rarity. I would love to have every county and city and state agency to understand ARES, our capabilities and request our cooperation as a support group to their agencies. Unfortunately this is not the case so we must prove our capabilities and show them how we can fit as a support group to them with our same FEMA training as their paid agencies, in addition to ARRL training and willingness to help on a moment’s notice. Since Virginia now has an SWIC and the help of Brandan O’Neill ( our Fairfax County EC, have been able to potentially schedule an AUXCOMM training session for 11/15-17/19 at the Fairfax County Public Safety HQ. In addition, VDEM and the Red Cross have just renewed their MOU for Virginia. This is in addition to the previously signed National Red Cross MOU with the ARRL. The following URL is the announcement. The ARRL MOU with the National Red Cross includes Amateur radio and this is accepted as part of each local section MOU that is signed. 1632382306893365/UzpfSTI1NzgwNzI4NDI5MDExMzozMDU0MzY0NjM3OTY3Njgz/ ?q=Red%20Cross%20Signs%20MOU%20with%20VDEM&epa=SEARCH_BOX

As a great example of someone stepping up and developing a single event that has really world-wide implications. Greg Butler KW6GB started a weekly net utilizing WINLINK, an amateur radio digital method of sending email over HF or VHF radio. WINLINK software was developed from a international radio software based email that has been used as SAILMAIL in the world marine service for years. The development of WINLINK and its acceptance to the amateur radio world came about pretty quickly. It was also found to be easy to use and could be adapted for emergency communications very easily. The ability to attach ICS forms and any other messages to these email type messages has proven to be a boon to critical communications during an emergency. Greg has been averaging over 100 messages each week for over a year now, just from within the Virginia Section. In addition he has been receiving messages almost every other Section (state) every week (20+).

While Greg started this on his own, WINLINK has been accepted as great tool for ARES and EMCOMM everywhere. It has become an accepted method of emergency communications because it can be worked thru the internet or directly radio to radio proves it versatility for everyone, everywhere. These kinds of cooperative efforts are what raises ARES to a credible, trained, certified emergency communications support vehicle to any local regional or national agency.

At every meeting we hear the why don’t you as leaders do this and that, get approvals, get agencies to help us, you do not do enough, move fast enough, etc. We do understand impatience, but in each and every step needed we must have the cooperation of the other side (this is the gov’t agency/department, etc, and this simply does not happen quickly. Those who cry loud, should try it, I welcome everyone to sign up to be the contact to get these approvals, acceptances, cooperation, etc.. We did not meet the ARRL recommended date for an SET. This partly because we did not get enough cooperation in a timetable. HQ says the SET can be run anytime, the date is not a requirement. We will try again in the Spring. HQ tells us that only about one third of all sections actually have a formal SET each year. That’s not great record, but big successful SETs are great stories and present a nice picture for magazines.

This letter is all about ARES because this is the subject with highest visibility for the amateur radio community. Emergencies are on TV with Weather, Fires, Accidents and even more on the internet. Facebook allows people to either praise the hams, the training, etc. or the lack of leadership, lack of cooperation, or any subject about any person, organization, or government. This can be both bad and/or good. We are all human, to try our best when we accept a job, its responsibility, work as hard we can to meet the job requirements as well what people think the requirements are. We are all hero’s or failures, but someone has to stand up and try. Please, do not forget, there is a whole world more of Amateur Radio; ARRIS schools Space Station contacts. Contest every single week around the world. These are published in the monthly ARRL letter as well many internet sites.

Many awards from ARRL and other organizations around the world for quantity of contacts, states, zones, islands, counties, cities, etc. In addition to operating, the building of Ardunio computer based systems, digital communications, etc. Here in Virginia, we are doing a great job of moving forward with our hobby of Amateur Radio. We are gaining more new hams, working with more digital modes, doing more building of items like Arduino powered devices. Installing MESH networks, etc.. We have more resources then we ever had in past years. Ham radio gives anyone, young and old great opportunities learn, help and support your own education as well as being supportive of your community as well as you/our government. We all have our feelings, opinions, love, respect, and support of humanity and our neighbors. The greatest thing is that we are Americans, we live in a country where live and die for the freedoms we have every hour of every day in our lives. God Bless the USA.


Dr Joe Palsa Virginia Section Manager



Virginia Officials