Virginia Section Report 11/09/15
Virginia Section Theme---“Moving Forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Well, Halloween has come and gone, Election Day is over, we are now on “Standard Time”, Hurricane Season has only 21 days left for this year, and Thanksgiving is on the horizon.
SKYWARN RECOGNITION DAY 12/5/15
One of our most important and widely recognized groups of Amateur Radio Operators is the SKYWARN program which is directly connected to the National Weather Service.The 17th annual SKYWARN Recognition Day (SRD http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/hamradio/) on-the-air event is set for Saturday, December 5, from 0000 UTC to 2400 UTC. Cosponsored by ARRL and the National Weather Service, SKYWARN Recognition Day pays tribute to Amateur Radio operators for the vital public service they perform. Registration is now open for stations planning to participate from a National Weather Service (NW) Forecast Office; a listhttp://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/hamradio/participating_offices.php of NWS participating offices is on the NWS SKYWARN Recognition Day web page. During the 24 hour event, Amateur Radio operators set up at NWS offices contact other hams across the country. This event is also aimed at strengthening the bond between Amateur Radio operators and local NWS offices.
SKYWARN Recognition Day is not a contest. During SKYWARN Recognition Day amateur stations exchange contact information with as many National Weather Service-based stations as possible on SSB, FM, CW, RTTY, and AM on 80, 40, 20, 15, 10, 6, and 2 meter bands plus 70 centimeters. Repeater contacts are permitted.
Stations exchange call signs, signal reports, location, and a one or two-word description of the weather (eg, sunny, partly cloudy, windy, rainy). Procedureshttp://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/hamradio/opsprocedures.php are detailed on the NOAA SRD web page.
The volunteer SKYWARN program comprises nearly 290,000 trained severe weather spotters -- many of them radio amateurs -- who identify severe storms and provide NWS forecasters with reports of local weather conditions during severe weather events.
To learn more http://www.wrh.noaa.gov/mtr/hamradio/, visit the SKYWARN Recognition Day website.
NATIONAL PARKS on the AIR
“ARRL National Parks on the Air” Event to Mark National Park Service Centennial
In 2016, the National Park Service (NPS) will celebrate its 100th anniversary, and radio amateurs will be able to help mark the occasion with the ARRL National Parks on the Air (NPOTA) event. The fun begins at 0000 UTC on January 1, 2016.
“As ARRL just celebrated our own Centennial, and Amateur Radio is often enjoyed in the great outdoors, it seemed fitting to devise a program to help NPS celebrate their own 100th birthday.” NPOTA will run throughout 2016, with activity promoted and encouraged from each of the more than 430 official NPS administrative units and affiliated areas across the US. This includes all 59 National Parks as well as National Battlefields, Historic Sites, Memorials, Preserves, Reserves, Rivers, Seashores, National Scenic Trails, and other units.
The program will have two participation tracks — Chasers and Activators. Chasers will simply attempt to make contact with operators in as many of the NPS units as possible. Activators will attempt to activate as many of the units as possible. NPOTA participants may serve in both roles. Chaser and Activator totals will be tracked via an online Leader Board based on LoTW data, just as was done during the Centennial QSO Party. (Access the NPOTA Leader Board directly at http://npota.arrl.org.)
Modeled after the Mixed DXCC award, only one contact with any given NPS unit will be required, and no tally will be kept of NPS units based on bands or modes. NPOTA will be administered entirely through Logbook of The World (LoTW). No paper logs or QSLs will be accepted for NPOTA credit. Each NPS unit will be added to LoTW as a “location.”
Three award certificates will be available: Chaser Award and Activator Award certificates will be available to any radio amateur who has at least one confirmed contact with an NPS unit or who activates at least one unit, respectively. A station’s total number of confirmed or activated units will be printed on the certificate. The National Parks Honor Roll certificate will be available for any station that confirms contact with at least 75 percent of the 59 National Parks activated in 2016.
An Activator can earn additional recognition as a “Five-Star Activator.” While the Centennial QSO Party was an internal event for radio amateurs, National Parks on the Air is designed to be a public promotion of Amateur Radio’s capabilities. Various public relations bonuses and activities will be available to Activators, similar to the PR bonus points available to ARRL Field Day stations.
The NPOTA will use the official list of NPS Administrative Units and Affiliated Areas as defined and maintained by NPS. Complete details on the National Parks on the Air event are available on the ARRL website.
ARRL National Traffic System
The following numbers represent all of the Virginia NTS Nets for October 2015
Sessions – 121
Messages – 198
Check-Ins - 853
2015 ARRL Sweepstakes have completed their CW portion this past weekend. However, please remember that November 21-23 weekend is the SSB portion of the contest.
This exercise was organized and held by the MARS Systems and all ARES/RACES groups were invited to participate with contacts of the MARS stations in all sections. In additions the SHARES stations which are part of the official National Communications Systems were also participating and contacted MARS as well as ARES/RACES stations and groups.
After action reports are not completed, but there was considerable interest and participation from all of the reports I have heard and read.
Well, the 2015 SET run by a private EMCOMM group led by W4GHS is over. Evidently from the many after action reports I/we have received from ARRL ARES/RACES groups as well as ARRL members who participated as CERT groups, they were pleased with their experience. Now, I and Ed Krom, wd4hkp, our SEC are looking forward to an ARRL sponsored 2016 SET for complete state of Virginia.
We are looking for co-operation of “ALL EMCOMM” groups, both public and private, all clubs, all EOC groups, as well as all registered ARES/RACES groups to ORGANIZE A REAL STATE WIDE SET. We welcome w4ghs and his group as well as the many EMCOMM groups that ran their own local SET to become part of a Virginia Section SET in 2016. This will be the FIRST ARRL statewide SET held in several years.
Emergences require team efforts. You never a see an ambulance roll up to an accidence scene with only the driver. You never see a fire truck roll up to a fire with only the driver. Soldiers never go into battle as one soldier. One ham at an emergency scene needs someone to talk to. All help provided during any disaster, emergency, etc.. is a team effort. United we stand as amateur radio operators dedicated to provide communications assistance in event of any type of emergency to our Virginia citizens. We need the experience and mentors provided by those who have the education and experience to help educate and train the new hams, both young and old. Organization is important to educate and teach to prevent chaos in time of crisis.
VIRGINIA CLUB NEWS
This is a reminder to all clubs in Virginia. If you want your news, accomplishments, graduates, classes, parties, local contests, etc. published/announced to hams in Virginia, please contact me by email and/or send me a copy of your newsletters so I can include your news here.
Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015
In August, the ARRL acted to address objections and concerns being raised by representatives of community and neighborhood associations regarding the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 -- H.R. 1301 and S. 1685. "Clarity on Amateur Radio Parity" made it clear that the bill would not create new federal policy with respect to outdoor amateur antennas, nor would it require homeowners associations to approve huge radio towers. Now, a new video -- "The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 -- Separating Fact from Fiction" -- doubles down on the arguments contained in the League's August statement. ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, said the video will be made available on Capitol Hill to make sure that Members of Congress have correct information, instead of misrepresentations.
"The video not only explains what H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 are all about but knocks down specific misinformation that opponents have been circulating on Capitol Hill."
The nearly 6-minute video begins by explaining Amateur Radio -- especially its public service role -- in layperson's terms. It includes video clips of FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, who addressed the value of Amateur Radio in emergencies when he spoke at the ARRL Centennial National Convention in 2014, and of Sen Roger Wicker of Mississippi, the sponsor of S. 1685, the Senate bill.
As the presentation outlines, radio amateurs living in deed-restricted neighborhoods may face "cookie-cutter prohibitions" on outdoor antennas. It notes, however, that the FCC recognizes a strong federal interest in effective Amateur Radio communication from residences and, in 1985, adopted the PRB-1 limited preemption of state and local regulation of Amateur Radio antennas. As the statement -- and now the video -- point out, the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 would extend that limited preemption to private land-use restrictions.
The legislation "takes the time-tested 30-year-old reasonable accommodation standard [in PRB-1] and applies it to deed-restricted communities," the video states. "Unfortunately, there is a smear campaign against this legislation, and we need to respond to these blatant lies."
The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 seeks common ground between radio amateurs in antenna-restricted communities and homeowners associations.
The video stresses that neighborhood homeowners associations (HOAs) would have the flexibility to reasonably accommodate amateur antennas in a manner that best suits the particular community, although HOAs could not just say "no." The legislation also does not take away any jurisdiction from community associations, nor does it negate any private contracts, the video asserts. "HOAs, not the hams, will decide on height and placement of radio antennas," it says. "Amateur Radio operators in these communities just want a seat at the table to negotiate a reasonable accommodation from HOAs, but HOAs don't want there to even be a table."
As the video concludes, "Opposing reasonable accommodation is just unreasonable."
WE now have over 125 representatives signed up as well as several senators.
Dr Joseph Palsa
Virginia Section Manager