Virginia Section Report 09/05/15
Virginia Section Mission Theme—“Moving Forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Well folks, welcome to Labor Day weekend which is the end of summer. Technically, if you believe in technicalities, summer is over.
Well last week was hot and humid in New Orleans, but I can honestly say the food is always great.
Here locally in Richmond, Va., we lost two members, SK’s of our local club unexpectedly, this saddened us all as these guys were visible in the club, Hamfests, and community. Our condolences to their families.
With summer now gone ?, and cooler weather coming, it is a great time for more antenna work. The leaves will be dropping and we can finally see where we are throwing our lines in the trees. But we must still be careful around any type of electrical lines and poles, being careful and accurate, not foolish and dead.
Hamfest season is also slowing down for the year. However, on Sept. 12th, the Virginia State ARRL Convention with the Virginia Beach Hamfest, is coming next weekend to the Virginia Beach Convention Center.
Our Virginia ARES program has been making great strides over these last several months. We have had a significant number of inquires about the programs as well as new members joining. We now have all the DEC positions filled and all of our DEC’s are working diligently filling the vacant EC position’s that had lingered so long. In addition, more hams have shown interests in other ARRL appointment positions.
We are very pleased that hams in Virginia have noticed our increased ARRL exposure to clubs and activities and have been telling us so.
Having increased discussions with clubs and ARES groups, as well as with FEMA and Homeland Security representatives, as brought increased light to where Amateur Radio Emergency Groups are fitting into the National Emergency Radio Communications system.
For many years, Amateur Radio Emergency Communications has been the mainstay of ---When all else fails—was a truism and we were the workhorses behind ARES, RACES, RED CROSS, and other national relief agencies. Whether we like it or not, times are changing. Ever since 911, and Katerina, our Federal Government has been creating laws and agencies to increase the abilities of all emergency responders to be able to communicate with each other on the emergency grounds. This was coined “interoperability” of radio and communications capabilities. Now, still using the word “interoperability”, they have been adding the logistics of the messaging and formality to the communications actions. More recently, Homeland Security, has created and added what has become AUXCOM. This now has created a federally mandated volunteer organization of amateur radio communications levels of responsibility that would be put in place during a federal declared disaster or emergency. This then is similar as to how our military operates with trained soldiers then being assigned to a specific position/job during the emergency.
While a person may be trained by ARES, Red Cross, or some other agency,once you have been trained and are a certified AUXCOM graduate, you then become one of many, like a soldier. During a declared disaster, etc., and FEMA/HS is in charge, AUXCOM emergency communications would be activiated and those hams who are AUXCOM certified, will report and be given assignments to do. A hams historical membership, training, position in the past (other organizations) will have no bearing on their AUXCOM assignment.
This whole plan is to set up communications chains as well as keep individual organizations and persons from feuding with each other during an emergency. The AUXCOM plan fits the preplanned federal emergency organization plan for all pieces and parts of logistics and communications. This sets a methodology as to how all this should function as well as who is in charge. Of course all of this planning is designed to eliminate all of the fighting and confusion that occurred during Katerina and somewhat after Hurricane Sandy.
Now we come back to ARES. The development of the FEMA courses and other EMCOM training is good preparation for AUXCOM if you are so inclined. But, ARES and other EMCOM organizations are still your first local and/or regional emergency groups and still maintain their importance and control for local/regional agency emergencies.
Good training for ARES groups in additional to the traditional FEMA courses and other EMCOM courses is to offer to supply communications for community events, like fairs, bike races, marathons, etc.. This provide real time training in responsibility, messages, planning, and execution. These community events important to your community/public and also shows who you are and how you can operate in an organized fashion.
Remember, this is still a hobby. But it can be a hobby that can save lives and property.
For those interested in contesting, the following are listed for month of September 2015.
ARRL---Sept 12-14 VHF Contest and Sept 19-20 10Ghz & up Round 2
CQ-----Sept 25-26 World Wide RTTY DX Contest
Dr Joe Palsa
Virginia Section Manager