ARRL Sections - Virginia



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Dr Joe Palsa
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Virginia Section Report  05/04/15

Virginia Section Mission Theme---"Moving Forward with Amateur Radio for our Future"

First I would like to announce that Ed Krom, WD4KHP, has accepted the appointment as our new Section Emergency Coordinator. Ed has significant ARRL experience and has held this position some years ago. I have had numerous discussions with Ed about the concerns of the membership, my philosophy for our future, as well as headquarters concerns and plans.  These discussions were very productive to me as well as lessons learned from years past as to what works and what does not work.

I ask for cooperation of all of our Virginia EMCOMM groups, ARES, RACES, MARS, CERT, SKYWARN, VDEM, as well as clubs and non affiliated groups who work diligently to support our citizens in any and all emergencies, regardless of being created by mother nature or by man's actions.

History is history please.  Over the past decade Virginia has had numerous changes in our EMCOMM services.  These changes were generated by many persons and organizations for many reasons which all thought theirs was the best plan. The ironic situation is that many new and good ideas and plans were given birth, but rather than have cooperation, we had many splits and arguments.  This did not serve the best interests of all citizens of Virginia. 

Now, over these years, FEMA has risen to prominence in EMCOMM for a National cooperative effort to standardize communications and therefore interoperability among volunteer as well as professional emergency services in our nation.  ARRL has numerous MOU's in this same vein to promote the use of the extensive free training courses offered by FEMA.  Most of volunteer groups have also adopted these FEMA courses as their standardization of training.  This has brought EMCOMM a long way in these years.  Now, in addition to the FEMA couses, organization and local governments have added some specialty training to their groups due to the need for specific training.  An example would be working in the mountains vs working in the beach each requiring specific training.

In addition, technology has made significant advancements in digital and other types of communications.  This being said, as amateur radio operators, we still communicate by voice as our basic operation benchmark.   AM, FM, SSB as part of the voice operation.  Then we go to digital with packet, APRS, Fldigi, and many other modes, next we go to the internet, with WINMAIL, etc..  This gives us numerous capabilities of communicating.   While this is absolutely great, the critical point we must all understand---interoperability ---is the keyword which means cooperation between all groups to get the information needs, reports, etc., during an emergency from point A to point B.  

As the primary example here in Virginia---Virginia Department of Emergency Management has a volunteer group amateur radio operators known as ARCA.  Amateur Radio stations are maintained at the state EOC center to enable an HF, VHF, and UHF communications with amateur radio EMCOMM groups throughout the state during a declared emergency event. This group has the ability to communicate by voice, SSB and FM, and can communicate via packet and Winlink.  Now, local groups may utilize more advanced digital methods, however they would not be able to communicate directly with ARCA/VDEM in the event of an emergency since VDEM does not have these advanced capabilities.  This is a critical point that all EMCOMM services in Virginia must understand.  Voice, FM, Packet, WINLINK are the only direct modes available.

The next critical item is the message format that is necessary in the interoperability requirement.  As an example---if an emergency is declared, like a flood,etc., a county may be affected.  This county would need state help with additional trucks, water supply, food, cots, etcc.  Under normal circumstances, they would telephone or email the state EOC asking for help.  A VDEM employee would use the FEMA form ICS 213 as the format to follow, and then ask the caller---what type of truck do you need ?, what size of truck, how many trucks of each size and type ?.  What type of water supply do you need ?  Tanker trucks, Bottled water, water quantity, gallons, quanty of bottled water,etc..---finally the VDEM employee would ask for the local officials name and title requesting the help. This simply a blank form in which you simply fill in the blanks with requested details.

Now we come to amateur radio messaging.  To maintain the interoperability requirement, ---the exact same form (IC-213) ---and the exact same questions would be asked via radio or packet because the radio request could be handed to the same VDEM employee that may have been on phone or computer earlier asking the same questions. This is the critical point of understanding for all EMCOMM parties which allows them to get the information from the emergency field, Point A to VDEM Point B.

Communications and understanding how to communicate utilizing proper equipment is paramount to successful cooperation.

While more advanced digital and other capabilities may be available in some areas, these capabilities may not be available in all areas. Local communications capabilities in cities or counties may utilized to their best advantage if available. ARRL and VDEM does not ask or direct anyone in how to handle their own operations.  VDEM provides information on how they operate under FEMA rulings during an emergency and how information is handled under state and federal laws. 


I  have  received a number of e-mails and messages concerning the appointment of a new SEC as well as  vacancies of DEC and EC positions around the state.  Well we now have our new SEC, Ed Krom, WD4KHP.   We are well aware of the many levels of EMCOMM and ARRL training and experience we have in Virginia.  I am also aware of the many ideas and convictions that abound within our section as well as the differences of opinions. This is actually a good thing because it shows the dedication to amateur radio emergency communications. However, it is my wish to develop ideas, plans, and educational experiences between all of our groups be they ARES, RACES, or non-affiliated EMCOMM groups in our state.  It is to all of our advantages to exchange ideas, plans, thoughts, and efforts and come together as a team, rather than push forward on individual or regional basis. We do not want to stifle the enthusiasm of individuals or groups, but we simply want and need to take advantage of every groups experience and knowledge.  

We welcome information and announcements from all groups for publication of their meetings, accomplishments, training, etc.. so we can share it with all groups on our section  web page.


HR 1301 AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT OF 2015 The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 – known as H.R.1301 – was introduced in the US House of Representatives on March 4th.  The Bill would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the
PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners' association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as "covenants, conditions, and restrictions" (CC&Rs).  At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances.  The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include such private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.  H.R. 1301 was introduced by Representative Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) and as of March 28th, it has 31 co-sponsors, including Representative David Price (D-NC-4).  The Bill  has been referred to the House Energy and Commerce Committee.  Representative Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), chairs that panel's Communications and Technology Subcommittee, which will consider the measure.  ARRL members are urged to contact their US House members and ask them to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor.  For further information, see

FCC SEEKS COMMENT ON RADAR SHARING SCHEMES THAT COULD DISPLACE AMATEUR RADIO AT 76-81 GHZ (REMINDER) – The FCC is seeking comment on issues involving expanded use of various radar applications in the 76-81 GHz band, which Amateur Radio shares with other services.  For further information, see

 DXing-The following is a list of some DX opportunities 

PW2C – IOTA SA024 Cambtiu – The island of Cambriu is located on the southern coast of San Paulo Brazil. Activation is scheduled for May 1,2,3, 2015.

JA0JHQ/VK9X – Christmas Island, Australia – IOTA OC-002 May 7-10, 2015 

A52AEF A52ARJ A52IVU Bhutan – April 30-May 6, 2015                                      


Culpeper Amateur Radio Swapfest  04/11/2015, Culpeper Amateur Radio Association,

 Manassas Hamfest & Maker Technology Show 06/14/2015, Ole Virginia Hams Amateur Radio Club,  

Roanoke Hamfest 2015,  Roanoke Valley Amateur Radio Club, 

 65th Annual Berryville Hamfest, Shenandoah Valley Amateur Radio Club  

Virginia Beach Hamfest (Virginia Section Convention) 09/12/2015, Tidewater Radio Conventions  

Virginia Section Manager

Dr Joe Palsa  K3WRY
(804) 350-2665




Virginia Officials