ARRL Sections - Virginia



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Dr Joe Palsa
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Virginia Section Report 08/12/15

Virginia Section Mission Theme—“Moving Forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”

Well  folks, the summer is fleeting very fast, HamFest’s are in full swing, antenna parties are helping each other, and the “Lids” have come out of the woodpiles.

This report is a little late as my job has interfered with my hobby, sorry about that.  If my spelling or punctuation falls short of perfect, it is a speed bump as I move along.

Bill Morine and I visited the Roanoke and Berryville Hamfest’s and met a great number hams and a good number of people who were ready to take their tests and those who were looking for schools to get some training to take their tests. This was extremely gratifying to see both young and older, men and women, as well as some very young and enthusiastic kids. In addition, Bill brought along his computer and printer and was able get another 50+, letters signed for HR 1301 Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 legislation. All of these letters are being sent to ARRL Headquarters as they will be then be hand carried to individual Representatives and Senators offices in Wash DC.  I am happy to report we now have over 90 representatives co-signed to date.   

At the Roanoke Hamfest Glen Sage had a forum on Emergency Communications and reports on the recent AUXCOM school which had 33 persons complete the course. Glen talked about the need for cooperation among all types of emergency communicator groups.  This also was the basic premise of the birth of AUXCOM to have consistent training across the board.

A small bit of history here from the standpoint of Homeland Security and FEMA. After the 911 tragedy, our government after many meetings the FBI, Treasury Dept, NSA, CIA and all of military agencies as well as congress, started formulating all types of ideas to protect the USA. As we all know the Homeland Security Agency was formed and many other existing agencies were then placed under this umbrella as specialized groups. Now to simplify history, the keyword “interoperability” was coined to “explain” the basic premise of first, getting all of our first responders and their communications systems to be able talk to each other when you have any type of emergency or disaster. This started out with frequency spectrum changes and radio equipment being designed to a have a new standard known as P25 as a digital communications standard which all manufacturers could/would produce.  This was the beginning.

Next the development of the National Incident Command System was born, and this was a logistics creation, that actually originated with the US Forest Service earlier, so that all emergencies could be handled with a standardized format of Command and Control with Communications. This then put specific identification markers and forms to each step or action required, taken and completed .

Now we come to what was our old civil defense from the cold war era.  This was the volunteer systems we have today all around the country. We have many great organizations like , the Red Cross, Southern Baptist Convention, ARRL ARES groups and many others. Now the job was to get some method of cooperation between all of these groups. Well, one of the first Federal supported program was the CERT groups that were being trained (paid for by FEMA) to handle their own local neighborhoods. Now the next you have is the multitude of communicators as noted above.  The development of the AUXCOM program utilizes the Incident Command System and is patterned after military training in that to keep the participants that are trained the same and eventually developed to specific jobs with a command leadership structure. No individual former position or organization is recognized, just like the military. You then have an organization that can perform anywhere at any time, under any circumstances.

ARRL recognizing this still maintains the ARES group structure for local assistance and cooperation with all local agencies with specific local needs. In addition, ARES groups assist with public service events, bike rides, special Olympics, triathlons, car races, etc.. 

The yearly SEC exercise is being planned at this time and is expected to be held Oct 3, and will include all types of ARES and EMCOMM groups from around the state. Glen is the point person again this year.

Ed Krom our SEC, has been very busy and we have virtually all DEC appointments filled with exception of D-14.  With these appointments, our DEC’s will be working hard to fill the remaining EC positions and mentoring those that will need some assistance. We are working on a basic program of training courses in addition to the FEMA standardized courses.  This will allow ARES persons who move area to area will have a standard basic EMCOMM training education they can carry with them.

I must report that with meeting hams from many areas of the state and having discussions with various clubs and meeting people at our Virginia Hamfest’s, I am very pleased with mood of cooperation and renewed interest in ARRL activities.

Virginia Beach Hamfest on September 12 is also our Virginia Section Convention.  There is the DX dinner on Friday evening with Dr Bob Eshleman W4DR, as the speaker.  Bob is a world renowned  DXer as well as DXpeditioner. In addition we also have Dr. Jim Boehner who is our Roanoke Div Director and Bill Morine who is our Roanoke Div Vice Director.    

September 12th Virginia Breach Hamfest---Virginia Section Convention                                    

Tidewater radio Conventions, http:/   

Dr Joe Palsa

K3WRY-ARRL Section Manager




Virginia Officials