July-August 2016 Virginia Section Manager Report
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Well summer is here along with the heat, humidity and storms. Storms with all features of hail, straight line winds, torrential rain have been occurring all over the state at various times. Unfortunately there have been some deaths as well as heavy damage to many residential areas. Please be careful this storm season. Check your antennas and make sure to ground your systems during lightning storms. Better safe than sorry later.
Field Day is over and visits by myself and our Raonoke Division Asst Director, Bill Morine, were made separately to several clubs sites in Central and Northern Virginia. It always amazes me how professionally deployed these sites are set up. This is a prime example of well our hams can set up and operate in the field during an emergency or disaster. With Field Day, several Hamfests, Contests etc. behind us, we still have Roanoke, Berryville and Virginia Beach Hamfests coming in the next two months.
We also have had the Richmond area clubs, lead by Richmond Amateur Club in cooperation with the Science Museum of Virginia, provide an Amateur Radio educational exercise combined with an ARISS program. The exercise was set up to provide a 3 day educational exercise about amateur radio for students from Boys and Girls Clubs and other clubs from the Richmond area.. This exercise was topped off by an ARISS QSO with Jeff Williams, KD5TVA on the space station. This program exercise also gave the students the opportunity to ask questions of Jeff during the contact period. It was really great to see their faces when they realize they were actually talking to Jeff on the space station.
We have completed our 2016 SET exercise plan which will be held on October 1st. The exercise event will be titled –Horizion -16. For the First time in several years-----This will be an ARRL, ARES, full state wide exercise in which all state local agencies EC’s which have also been invited to participate. The Virginia State EOC will also be part of this exercise. This exercise plan will also be published on our facebook page to encourage all private and club EMCOMM groups around the state to participate along with our ARES groups.
It is of great importance and recognized by Homeland Security and FEMA that all Emergency Communications during any emergency or disaster event that a standardized protocol be developed and followed to allow interoperability between volunteer communicators and organizations and all governmental agencies.
This is why------ WE INVITE ALL EMCOMM groups to participate in this exercise.
Remember, education and training is the only way to learn what to do during an actual emergency. This is why football players, military, police, fire, EMS and many other types of professions train and practice constantly.
Again, I ask all hams to make use of our 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 for old as well as new hams. http://www.aresva.us.
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. We are really excited that we are getting applications not only from new hams, but also from experienced older hams.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Be sure and check the Ready Virginia web page for emergency preparedness.
This page includes what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area.
While we have had several bad storms this past month in various parts of the state. These storms contained damaging winds up to 70 mph as well as straight line winds that some reports said were up as much as 90 mph. In areas where the storm occurred, significant residential and commercial damage had occurred in addition to significant power outages, some of which had lasted several days. SKYWARN had been activated in these areas for a significant number of hours.
For those in the SKYWARN program V 8.0 portal is deployed and working. In addition, we are in Hurricane Season so be sure to check with the National Hurricane Watch Net, www.nhc.org and the VOIP Hurricane Net at http://www.voipwx.net, when you are advised of storms forming.
There is the 2016 ARRL Hurricane Season Webinar on 07/21/2016 at 8 PM ET It is expected to run 90 minutes.
Telephone Connection: 1-914-614-3221 Access Code:898-704-064 Webinar ID: 109-625-171.
Our ROANOKE 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 learn about the traffic system because it is still in use during emergencies . Please support your NTS.
NATIONAL PARKS ON THE AIR UPDATE
The ARRL/National parks year long event, is progressing very well. With just 6 months to go, slightly more than 490,000 contacts have been made from 431 of the 485 eligible NPS units, in 8250 separate activitations. Please check the NPOTA calendar for additional details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.
AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT
H.R. 1301 as amended, received a unanimous favorable report on July 13 from members of the US House Energy and Commerce Committee. The bill now will go to the full house for consideration. Congress summer recess is upon us, so the bill is expected to be considered when congress returns.
Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is Aug 5 to Aug 7. No sales taxes on many supplies you may need for Hurricane Preparations.
Roanoke Valley Hamfest is scheduled for Aug 6,2016 http://www.virginia.org/listings/Events/RoanokeValleyHamfest
Berryville Hamfest is scheduled for Aug. 7, 2016
Virginia Beach Hamfest and State Convention is scheduled for Sept 10, 2016.
Please Check the ARRL Letter for all ARRL events and meetings
REMEMBER----Education is the key to your success, both in Ham Radio as well as in your life.
Dr. Joe Palsa
Virginia Section Manager