April 2016 Virginia Section Manager Report
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Winter may be over but these days of overnight temps dropping into the 20's is a little hard on those planting an early garden or planting the flowers of spring.
However, as I mentioned last month we can now repair our damaged antenna systems or install new antennas and towers even though the trees are beginning to bloom. Hamfest, convention, and contest season is in full swing. Actually the First VHF Super Conference begins April 15-17 in Sterling Va.
ARRL Headquarters is embarking on a review, evaluate and explore project for possible improvements to our OO programs. The OO program is a critical part of Amateur Radio rules enforcement support of the FCC. With the cutting of budgets again of many federal agencies, the FCC is no exception. So, our OO programs become even more important in support of Amateur radio and the FCC.
We have now completed our move to the new ARES Virginia Web site. It contains links to many important ham radio web sites as well full interactive ARES reporting, ARES applications and many other features.
ARES/RACES of VA on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/101756496822770/ is very active and I am pleased to report quite a number of new ARES applications. In talks with several of these new applicants, we have been told they are very pleased to see our improvements in the web site, and additional information and training that is available. The new support has proved that the ARRL really cares about Virginia hams.
Website: http://www.aresracesofva.org and https://www.aresva.us (new site)
Again, an important note While we have made the major shift, web sites are always a work in progress. Feedback from the field is important, as DEC’s and EC’s manage their own areas, they have individual needs and want’s to consider. ARES reports are a very important part of our overall section preparedness. Regular reports are necessary to your SEC which are forwarded to ARRL HQ. Relevant report forms can be found online:
FSD-157 Public Service Activity Report - http://www.arrl.org/fsd-157-public-service-activity-report
FES-212 EC/DEC Monthly Report (available online as a Word document) - http://www.arrl.org/public-service-field-services-forms
FSD-96 SEC Monthly Report - http://www.arrl.org/fsd-96-monthly-section-emergency-coordinator-report
An important note to all ARES members. Discussions are ongoing concerning our Virginia ARES Training. We will be issuing a Training recommendation/requirement from our SEC to all District and Local EC’s. This will outline an educational program in conjunction with the Virginia EOP.
Because of more Federal Emergency Communications programs and training are being offered, and more of our state, city and county agencies are heeding these offerings. ARES needs to keep up with this training. The FEMA free training courses will provide a basic requirement to become ARES member. This is already a requirement in a number of other States. Additional courses like the AUXCOMM course offered by HomeLand Security will become a requirement as soon as they become more readily available. There are also a number of commercial companies offering education programs and these are being vetted for their benefits, also.
This will give all ARES members a standard basic Emergency Communications Education that can be applied regardless of where they may live, as well as make them eligible to work as a volunteer in any Federal Controlled Emergency or Disaster anywhere in the country. This will also bring ARES up to educational levels of many of our private EMCOMM groups. With this improvement, ARES will also be able to support additional and more sophisticated public service events. Events like this also provide a continuous training ground for operational procedures.
In conjunction with this improved education, we are continuing to work with CERT groups to develop more amateur radio licensees and ability to work with ARES groups to the benefit of their local agencies.
A short but very important point that must be understood and accepted by all of our members. Yes this is all volunteer, be it ARES, CERT, etc.. But these organizations and agencies all need rules and regulations to operate legally, efficiently, and responsively. This is just a fact. We already train to use ICS forms and procedures of FEMA, etc.,. These are their rules and if we want play in their sand box, we must abide by their rules. At times we may not agree, but if we do not agree, we need to work to change the rules or we do not participate in these groups. That is the simple straight forward rule.
Our mandate is to encourage and grow amateur radio in Virginia. This means working with all amateurs, ARRL members or not. I will continue to offer this olive branch to each and every ham or non ham.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Shannon Girouard is grants administrator for State Homeland Security Grant programs and Emergency Management performance. This is your contact for grants to ARES groups or clubs to get Federal money through the state for emergency equipment purchases.
While we have had several storms this past month, fortunately we have not had any serious storms requiring emergency activations.
The new SKYWARN V 8.0 OPS portal has now been deployed and is looking very good.
Be advised our Division Director is continuing to upgrade the division web site. You can also view the new Division Facebook page at:httpww.facebook.com/ARRL-Roanoke-Division-s://w1114578661885666/
Our traffic systems utilize very dedicated hams. Traffic appears to steady, but slow. We encourage all hams to at least learn about the traffic system as you may just need to use it someday . Please support your NTS.
NATIONAL PARKS ON THE AIR UPDATE
The ARRL/National parks year long event, is progressing very well. NPOTA event will take center stage at Dayton Hamvention May 20-22. Please check the NPOTA calendar for additional details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter. As of April 6, more than 240,000 NPOTA contacts have been confirmed.
AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT
H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 are both making more progress attracting more sponsors. Please keep up to your letters to your congress representatives.
VHF SUPER CONFERENCE
The first ever, VHF Super Conference will be held at the Holiday Inn, Washington-Dulles Intl Airport, Sterling VA, April 15-17, 2016. The Southeastern VHF Society, North East Weak Signal Group and Mt. Airy VHF Radio Club have come together to sponsor this Super Conference. It is being hosted by the Grid Pirates Contest Group and Directive Systems Engineering.
Stafford County is having a SAR (Search & Rescue) Exercise on Saturday 04/16/16. SEMComm@yahoogroups.com
. Come to the Izaak Walton League Facility on Saturday at 1:00PM if you are interested in any of the following:
*Want to learn about Stafford County Search & Rescue
*Want to participate in First Aid training
*Want some Field Survival Training
*Want to learn more about Lifesaving radio beacons for Stafford citizens
*Want to participate in an evening search & rescue exercise with the Stafford County SAR team
*Want to meet and greet with the SAR team as you dine on Mission BarbequeSaturday, 1:00PM - 3:00PM -- recurrent training on first aid & wilderness survival
Saturday, 3:00PM - 5:00PM -- briefings including one from Project Lifesaver (www.projectlifesav er.org), which promotes the use of 216MHz wearable transmitters for individuals with cognitive limitations, to aid in SAR efforts.
Saturday, 5:00PM -- Sunset -- Mission Barbeque dinner for all participants
Saturday, Sunset -- 11:30PM -- evening SAR exercise
ARRL EVENTS UPDATE
Check ARRL Letter for all ARRL events, meeting in the US.
REMEMBER----Education is the key to your success, both in Ham Radio as well as in your life.
Dr. Joe Palsa
Viginia Section Manager