February 2016 Virginia Section Manager Report
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
OK ---We all survived two of the year’s biggest events here in Virginia. First was “FROSTFEST”, the biggest Hamfest in the Middle Atlantic Area and second in size to Orlando, which this year is the ARRL National Meeting. Kay Craigie N3KN, just retired President of the ARRL was a guest speaker at the Virginia Section ARRL Forum. She spoke of Challenges in ham radio for us and the opportunities we all have with the ARRL if we so chose. Attendance topped over 2,500+ at the Richmond International Raceway Complex.
Of course, the second event was the “Super Bowl”. I know not everyone likes football, but this also shows the learning process in professional sports and then taking this knowledge and applying it to challenges in their professional life.
As noted, we published the “ARES” E.O.P. last month. This was the first EOP that Virginia ARES has had and as noted, “It is a work in progress”. As a matter of fact, several items were updated in just this last month. With your help, we have already identified additional points to review. We are also reviewing EOP’s from several other states, like CA and NC, that have fine tuned their EOP’s over the last several years. These state's as well as several others serve as models for ARES operations. Again, this is a work in progress as noted.
In addition, we are restructuring our ARRL Virginia Section Web site since the software which originally used has been outdated, new software was utilized for the new construction.
ARES/RACES of VA on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/101756496822770/
Website: http://www.aresracesofva.org and https://www.aresva.us (new site)
Again, an important note, these sites are also a work in progress. Feedback from the field is important, as DEC’s and DEC’s manage their own areas, they have individual needs and wants to consider.
The Appalachian Region with more than 40 inches of snow was reported in parts of West Virginia, where a state of emergency was declared. Kanawha County ARES activated nets on 75, 40, and 2 meters.
A state of emergency also was declared in Kentucky, not typically known for snow emergencies, after several counties received a foot or more of snow, stranding thousands of motorists along a stretch of Interstate 75. Kentucky Public Information Officer Greg Lamb, W0QI, said the Kentucky Emergency HF Net activated on 75 meters, with stations checking in from throughout the Commonwealth. Hazard and Harlan County-area repeaters activated a SKYWARN net that remained active until after the storm had passed. Amateur Radio volunteers provided 67 storm-related reports to the NWS Jackson office. Some area repeaters were down as a result of the storm. Shelby County ARES was contacted by served agencies and put on standby to assist with possible shelter duty. In Madison, Rockcastle, and Laurel counties, the Red Cross asked for assistance after the Interstate 75 closing.
In Virginia, NWS Wakefield SKYWARN Amateur Radio Coordinator Steve Crow, KG4PEQ, said the Wakefield SKYWARN Amateur Radio Team was active from Friday morning through Saturday evening, with brief wrap-up nets to take total snowfall reports on Sunday.
"While the SKYWARN Radio Desk at NWS Wakefield (WX4AKQ) was not activated, we ran local nets in four of our regions impacted by the storm," Crow told ARRL. "Participation exceeded expectations, with 13 SKYWARN net controls taking 274 reports from 109 different spotters." In Stafford County, about a dozen ham radio volunteers deployed to support communication for the county emergency manager, but no emergency developed there.
In North Carolina, the storm brought snow and downed utility lines, leaving some 200,000 without power at the peak, but causing no communication outages, ARES SEC Tom Brown, N4TAB, reported. "A few shelters were opened, but were subsequently closed due to minimal need," he said.
With the downsizing of the FCC as a whole, the Amateur Radio Enforcement becomes more difficult, the ARRL Official Observer program becomes even more important. We can, and do police, our selves very well. However, rest assured several bad actors, including Hams, CB’ers, and Outbanders have felt the rath of multi-thousand dollar fines around the country. Interference is Hams biggest problem. Unfortunately, as an example, we do have some hams who think they own a frequency and cause problems and others turn up their audio to spatter multi Kc’s. This is where polite cooperation is necessary. We all have enough frequency space and hours in the day to operate, let’s all respect one another.
Be advised the our Division Director has been working to upgrade the division web site. You can also view the new Division Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/ARRL-Roanoke-Division-1114578661885666/
Our traffic systems utilize very dedicated hams. This system has seen the quantity of traffic decrease over the years, but please understand the importance of system, especially in emergencies. The internet and email changed many things over the last several years. However, all this technology can easily get knocked out or bogged down in a real disaster, which we have seen already. This is when hams shine, in an emergency
RED CROSS ACTIONS
The ARRL and the American Red Cross have signed a new : “Memorandum of Understanding (MOU)” in January. This succeeds one agreed to in 2010 and will remain in place for the next five years. This MOU spells out how ARES volunteers will interface with the Red Cross in the event that ARES teams are asked by the Red Cross to assist in a disaster or emergency response. Additional details can be found on the ARRL website.
NATIONAL PARKS ON THE AIR UPDATE
At four weeks into the ARRL/National parks year long event, we have seen almost 200 of the 483 NPOTA units activated. More than 30 activations are scheduled by this time in February. Please check the NPOTA calendar for activation details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.
ARRL EVENTS UPDATE
Check ARRL website 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
Virginia Section Manager