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ARRL Sections - Virginia



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Dr Joe Palsa
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SPECIAL-Early 2021 IMPORTANT Short Virginia Section Newsletter


To All Virginia Amateur Radio operators.


We are all still reeling from the Covid 19 virus jump in infection again and it tragic effects on our families, jobs, overall unemployment as well as terrible financial consequences to everyone. In addition the psychological effects on everyone is untenable.


Now, the next most important subject to ALL Virginia is the new Distracted Driving Law effective on Jan 1st, 2021. This law has the EXCEPTION  for Amateur Radio.


For those of you who wish to read the law here:


§ 46.2-818.2. (Effective January 1, 2021) Use of handheld personal communications devices in certain motor vehicles; exceptions; penalty.


A. It is unlawful for any person, while driving a moving motor vehicle on the highways in the Commonwealth, to hold a handheld personal communications device.


B. The provisions of this section shall not apply to:

1. The operator of any emergency vehicle while he is engaged in the performance of his official duties; 2. An operator who is lawfully parked or stopped; 3. Any person using a handheld personal communications device to report an emergency;


4. The use of an amateur or a citizens band radio; or


5. The operator of any Department of Transportation vehicle or vehicle operated pursuant to the Department of Transportation safety service patrol program or pursuant to a contract with the Department of Transportation for, or that includes, traffic incident management services as defined in subsection B of § 46.2-920.1 during the performance of traffic incident management services.

C. A violation of this section is a traffic infraction punishable, for a first offense, by a fine of $125 and, for a second or subsequent offense, by a fine of $250. If a violation of this section occurs in a highway work zone, it shall be punishable by a mandatory fine of $250.

D. For the purposes of this section:

"Emergency vehicle" means:

1. Any law-enforcement vehicle operated by or under the direction of a federal, state, or local law-enforcement officer while engaged in the performance of official duties; 2. Any regional detention center vehicle operated by or under the direction of a correctional officer responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation; 3. Any vehicle used to fight fire, including publicly owned state forest warden vehicles, when traveling in response to a fire alarm or emergency call; 4. Any emergency medical services vehicle designed or used for the principal purpose of supplying resuscitation or emergency relief where human life is endangered; 5. Any Department of Emergency Management vehicle or Office of Emergency Medical Services vehicle, when responding to an emergency call or operating in an emergency situation; 6. Any Department of Corrections vehicle designated by the Director of the Department of Corrections, when (i) responding to an emergency call at a correctional facility, (ii) participating in a drug-related investigation, (iii) pursuing escapees from a correctional facility, or

(iv) responding to a request for assistance from a law-enforcement officer; and 7. Any vehicle authorized to be equipped with alternating, blinking, or flashing red or red and white secondary warning lights pursuant to § 46.2-1029.2.

"Highway work zone" means a construction or maintenance area that is located on or beside a highway and is marked by appropriate warning signs with attached flashing lights or other traffic control devices indicating that work is in progress.

E. Distracted driving shall be included as a part of the driver's license knowledge examination.

2020, cc. 250, 543.


You may want to copy and print out the complete law and keep in your vehicle in the event you get stopped by police officer ---who is not--- totally familiar with the new law


Next, I want advise all hams that our NEW ARRL VIRGINIA SECTION web site is up and running as a work in progress. We expect a full turn on announcement is expected Jan 15th.


This new site will offer a one stop shop for all current and important Virginia ham radio news. Sections for ARRL HQ news, VA club news, Contest news, DX news, ARES news, as well as other sections like builder tips, etc. There will be opportunities for posting up to the minute events and news for all sections. Being an interactive site will give these opportunities to everyone. This site is being created by and for hams and will be moderated by the same hams.

We will not have a facebook page in 2021. The former ARES Facebook page has been archived because as a social media site we had continuing problems with administration and keeping proper current news up to date.

This was an administration decision between our section and division.

My more comprehensive letter on Virginia Section activities will come in the near future


Please honor virus restrictions. Please be careful with all antenna installations.


Dr Joe Palsa - K3WRY

ARRL Virginia Section Manager

State Government Liaison





Virginia Officials