ARRL

ARRL Letter

 

***************
The ARRL Letter
Vol. 28, No. 16
April 24, 2009
***************

IN THIS EDITION:

*   EmComm Workshops at 2009 National Hurricane Conference Focus on
Amateur Radio 
*   Boston Area Hams Provide Communications Support for Annual Marathon 
*   NWS Awards Arkansas Ham Top Honor 
*   ARRL Membership Newsletters, Bulletins and Notifications 
*   Solar Update 
*   IN BRIEF: 
      This Week on the Radio 
      ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration 
      No ARRL Audio News for April 24 
      Thomas Dick, KF2GC, Returns as Northern New York SM
      "Hints and Kinks" 

Reminder: There will be no ARRL Audio News for Friday, April 24.

===========================================================
==>Delivery problems: First see FAQ
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/faq.html#nodelivery>, then e-mail
<letter-dlvy@arrl.org>;
==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA
<k1sfa@arrl.org>;
===========================================================


==> EMCOMM WORKSHOPS AT 2009 NATIONAL HURRICANE CONFERENCE FOCUS ON
AMATEUR RADIO 

On April 6-10, Amateur Radio had its largest presence ever at the 2009
National Hurricane Conference in Austin, Texas
<http://www.hurricanemeeting.com/>. Representatives from the ARRL,
WX4NHC <http://www.wx4nhc.org/>, the Amateur Radio Station at the
National Hurricane Center (NHC) <http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/>, the
Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) <http://www.hwn.org/> and VoIP Hurricane Net
(VoIPWXNet) <http://www.voipwx.net/> completed several presentations at
the conference as well as a presentation at the local Austin Amateur
Radio Club. According to ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response
Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, the workshops were very well attended with
more than triple the participation of prior conferences.

"The Austin Amateur Radio Club, along with ARRL Field Organization
Section and Division officials did an outstanding job of promoting the
various presentations at the conference," Dura said. "It is these
coordinated efforts at the local club and ARRL Section, Division and
National levels that will allow us to propel forward with our efforts in
emergency communications and train people, allowing us to become a more
valuable asset to served agencies."

Assistant WX4NHC Amateur Radio Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, thanked
everyone who participated in the meeting "for making our NHC 2009
presentations and experience so successful and enjoyable. We had one of
the largest attendances for the Amateur Radio workshop that I can
remember."

Nearly 60 people attended the Amateur Radio Disaster Communications
Workshop on the afternoon of April 7. WX4NHC Amateur Radio Coordinator
John McHugh, K4AG, and Ripoll made the first presentation of the
workshop. Explaining the 29 year history of their work at the NHC and
the importance of measured surface data and damage reports, the pair
told how this knowledge allows hurricane specialists to make better
forecasts. They also told some stories and showed videos from several of
the most critical activations over the past few years. They discussed
the importance of the reporting from all stations, stressing that they
will take reports by any means in support of the mission to help save
lives.

Director of Operations of the VoIP Hurricane Net Rob Macedo, KD1CY, gave
a presentation on the VoIP Hurricane Net and the role it plays in
gathering data for WX4NHC. He also explained how it also can be used to
connect various National Weather Service forecast offices, as well as
local and regional Emergency Operation Centers during hurricanes. Macedo
also explained how the net is looking for more contacts within the
affected area to connect to the net and more amateurs to relay data from
local and regional nets in the affected area of hurricanes. "The VoIP
Hurricane Net relays info to WX4NHC using any and all means of reliable
information from all sources to give WX4NHC the most information
possible from the surface during a hurricane," Macedo explained.

Macedo also presented a session on the International Radio Emergency
Support Coalition (IRESC) <http://www.iresc.org/> and its role in
providing translators and additional contacts in the affected area
during hurricanes and other disasters. "This includes monitoring and
translation of international media broadcasts and press releases that
the NHC may not normally receive," he said. "The IRESC EchoLink
conference is often connected to the VoIP Hurricane Net during
hurricanes to support both the net and listen-only activity for stations
outside of the affected area that want to monitor the VoIP Hurricane Net
during hurricanes."

Assistant Net Manager of the Hurricane Watch Net Brad Pioveson, W9FX,
gave a presentation on the HWN's 44 year history. Explaining that the
HWN has been around longer than operations at WX4NHC, Pioveson described
how in the days before WX4NHC, HWN ham radio operators -- using phones
and faxes -- passed information on tropical advisories to the NHC. He
also detailed some potential changes at the HWN that will include not
just the monitoring of their traditional 14.325 MHz frequency, but also
branching out onto other bands.

"Given the extremely poor propagation that we've seen lately," Pioveson
said, "we see the need for the HWN to expand its reach to other HF
bands. The Maximum Usable Frequency simply doesn't allow for 20 meters
to propagate as it has in the past. We need to scale our operations to
other HF bands when propagation is poor so we can support stations in
the affected area of a hurricane."

ARRL Southeastern Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, explained how
the Alabama section is preparing for an upcoming hurricane
interoperability exercise, giving a breakdown of the Alabama Section by
region. Sarratt explained that the focus of the exercise is a "worst
case scenario hurricane" with cell phones rendered unusable during the
hurricane exercise. He also gave a breakdown of the ARRL HQ disaster
response mechanism, saying that all ARES members and leadership should
recognize and observe the ARES Field Organization structure
<http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/org/>.

On the evening of April 7, the same presenters gave similar
presentations to the Austin Amateur Radio Club meeting after a BBQ put
on by the local club. West Gulf Division Director Dr David Woolweaver,
K5RAV, was present for all the Tuesday workshops and the local club
meeting. At the meeting, Woolweaver thanked everyone for their support
of the conference workshops and for attending the club meeting. He also
took the opportunity to announce that he was appointing Lee Cooper,
W5LHC, president of the Austin Amateur Radio Club (AARC), as Assistant
Director for Emergency Communications in the West Gulf Division. "This
is a necessary appointment in our Division to address the importance of
emergency communications," Woolweaver told the group.

On April 8, Dura and Macedo gave a workshop to emergency management
officials and representatives of government agencies. The workshop
focused on situational awareness and disaster intelligence, stressing
its importance to Emergency Management and how it creates more
opportunities to utilize Amateur Radio. The presentation was followed by
a question-and-answer session relating to Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications. "Collecting and gathering data and sharing information
and reporting during disasters is another way Amateur Radio can assist
beyond the typical message handling," Dura said. "Monitoring critical
infrastructure -- such as in the case of the Red River in North Dakota
-- is an example, and these examples can be applied to hurricanes."

Macedo gave the audience several disaster intelligence examples used
during hurricanes, as well as from his ARES and SKYWARN work in the
ARRL's Eastern Massachusetts section: "On several occasions, SKYWARN
spotters gave information to emergency management. This information,
along with other data, helped emergency management officials to escalate
their response in several recent disaster-related incidents. This model
can also be utilized during hurricanes."

During the closing session, Director of Safety Operations and Emergency
Management for the City of Houston Arcadio Avalos asked several
questions, starting a discussion on coordination and credentialing.
"Based upon his experiences from Hurricane Ike last year, he said he
understood the importance of Amateur Radio and wanted to assist in
easing logistical issues for the next time this work is needed in his
area," Dura said. "He will be assisting to ease those issues on the
public safety side of things. He also took copious notes on how he could
improve things on the Amateur Radio side. He mentioned that he viewed
Amateur Radio as a 'huge asset' in this task and wanted to ensure that
no coordination issues arise for next time so Amateur Radio support can
be utilized even further and more efficiently."

All sessions were videotaped through the efforts of professional
videographer and VoIP Hurricane Net Control Scheduler Jim Palmer,
KB1KQW. Macedo said that the videos should be available the first part
of May on the North Shore Radio Association (NSRA) Web site
<http://www.nsradio.org/video>.

The 2010 National Hurricane Conference is scheduled for March 29-April 2
in Orlando, Florida.


==> BOSTON AREA HAMS PROVIDE COMMUNICATIONS SUPPORT FOR ANNUAL MARATHON 

More than 250 Amateur Radio operators provided communication support for
the 113th running of the Boston Marathon <http://www.bostonmarathon.com/>
on Monday, April 20, also known as Patriots' Day
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patriots_Day>. With more than 26,000
official runners and 500,000 spectators along the 26 mile route, the
marathon utilized amateurs at the starting line, along the course at
each water and first aid station, and at the finish line.

"This is the largest public service event in New England in terms of the
number of Amateur Radio operators required for a one-day event, and we
can always use more hams to help us," said Marathon Amateur Radio
Communications (MARC) <http://marc.mmra.org/marc/index.html> Course
Coordinator Steve Schwarm, W3EVE. "We're glad that the weather was cool
and the number of ambulance requests this year was lower than past
years, where we had higher temperatures and more medical issues."

Even with the more temperate weather, MARC Finish Line Coordinator Paul
Topolski, W1SEX, said the medical tents at the finish line were near
capacity by mid-afternoon. "Hams provided communications, status and
logistical issue updates between the medical tents to our finish line
net control as needed," he said.

The Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency (MEMA) was active with
operations at the State Emergency Operations Center in Framingham, with
their operations room acting as a Unified Command Center (UCC) for the
marathon. RACES members staffed the communications room at the SEOC, and
ARRL Eastern Massachusetts Section Manager Mike Neilsen, W1MPN, staffed
the UCC. Neilson fed status reports on any issues along the marathon
route into the operations room, as well as issues from the UCC to the
operations room.

"This is the first time we've had an Amateur Radio Operator in the
operations room of the UCC," said Massachusetts State RACES Radio
Officer Tom Kinahan, N1CPE. "We have been coordinating with the Boston
Marathon Net Control and the finish line communications in Boston to
provide updates into our station and to our Amateur Radio operator in
the UCC."

The Net Control center is located with a line-of-sight to the Boston
area and to the entire 26 mile route in case simplex communication is
required. More than a dozen repeaters were utilized to provide
overlapping coverage to the marathon route. The Clay Center Amateur
Radio Club, the Minuteman Repeater Association, the Framingham Amateur
Radio Association and many other clubs in the New England area support
the marathon operations.

With so many amateurs placed along the marathon route, ARRL Eastern
Massachusetts Section Emergency Coordinator Rob Macedo, KD1CY, placed
Eastern Massachusetts ARES on standby in case something went wrong along
the marathon route, or a major incident occurred coincident with the
marathon. "This is standard operating procedure for 'Marathon Monday'"
he said. "We want our members to maintain a heightened state of
awareness during the event."

Patriots' Day -- a state holiday in Massachusetts and Maine --
commemorates the anniversary of the Battles of Lexington and Concord,
the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.


==> NWS AWARDS ARKANSAS HAM TOP HONOR 

In late March, officials at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in
Little Rock, Arkansas, awarded Brother Anselm Allen, WB5JLD, the
prestigious Thomas Jefferson Award for his service as a Cooperative
Weather Observer <http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/coop/>. Named for the third
President of the United States -- who kept an almost unbroken series of
weather records from 1776 to 1816 -- the award is the highest and most
prestigious award bestowed on Cooperative Weather Observers; only five
Jefferson Awards are conferred each year. Cooperative observers are
trained by the NWS to provide temperature (air and soil), precipitation
and river data on a daily basis.

In addition to Allen's outstanding support of the National Weather
Service, he is also an Amateur Radio operator and is active on local
nets. Allen is only the second observer to receive the Jefferson Award
in the Little Rock County Warning Area
<http://www.srh.noaa.gov/lzk/html/imgviewer1.php?pic=x73>.

The NWS has trained more than 11,000 people to take weather observations
on farms, in urban and suburban areas, National Parks, seashores and
mountaintops, giving the NWS a true weather picture representative of
where people live, work and play. Formally created in 1890 under the
Organic Act, the Cooperative Observer program has a twofold mission: To
provide observational meteorological data, usually consisting of daily
maximum and minimum temperatures, snowfall, and 24-hour precipitation
totals, required to define the climate of the United States and to help
measure long-term climate changes; and to provide observational
meteorological data in near real-time to support forecast, warning and
other public service programs of the NWS.

Volunteer weather observers provide data that are invaluable in learning
more about the floods, droughts, heat and cold waves. The data are also
used in agricultural planning and assessment, engineering,
environmental-impact assessment, utilities planning and litigation.
Information gathered by Cooperative Observers plays a critical role in
efforts to recognize and evaluate the extent of human impacts on climate
from local to global scales. -- Information provided by the National
Weather Service, Little Rock


==> ARRL MEMBERSHIP NEWSLETTERS, BULLETINS AND NOTIFICATIONS 

Did you know the ARRL offers more newsletters than just The ARRL Letter?
One of the many ARRL membership benefits includes other newsletters,
such as the ARRL Contest Update (a bi-weekly contest newsletter), the
ARES E-Letter (sent monthly, containing public service and emergency
communications news), the ARRL Club News, the ARRL Instructor/Teacher
E-Letter and the VE Newsletter, just to name a few. 

You can also elect to receive news and information from your Division
Director and Section Manager (keep in mind that not all
Divisions/Sections send notices), as well as W1AW bulletins that relate
to DX, propagation, satellites and Keplerian reports. The ARRL also
offers a free notification service that lets them know when their
membership and license are due to expire. 

Sign up for these newsletters, bulletins and notifications on the Member
Data page of the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/members-only/memdata.html>.


==>SOLAR UPDATE 

Tad "Twinkle like black stars in sunny skies" Cook, K7RA, this week
reports: On Wednesday, April 22 we saw sunspot 1015 fade away, just as
it was about to slip over our Sun's western limb. It emerged only
briefly, late on April 21, and by Thursday it had disappeared. Sunspot
numbers for April 16 through 22 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 11 with a
mean of 1.6. The 10.7 cm flux was 69.9, 69.8, 69.9, 70.1, 69.8, 71, and
71.1 with a mean of 70.2. The estimated planetary A indices were 6, 5,
8, 4, 4, 5 and 4 with a mean of 5.1. The estimated mid-latitude A
indices were 3, 4, 8, 4, 3, 3 and 2 with a mean of 3.9. The outlook for
the near term is more of the same, quiet conditions. Geophysical
Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions for April 24-30. The US Air
Force and NOAA predict a nice quiet planetary A index of 5 until May
6-9, when they expect to see a planetary A index of 15, 8, 8 and 8.
Sunspot numbers for April 16 through 22 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 11
with a mean of 1.6.  10.7 cm flux was 69.9, 69.8, 69.9, 70.1, 69.8, 71,
and 71.1 with a mean of 70.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 5,
8, 4, 4, 5 and 4 with a mean of 5.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices
were 3, 4, 8, 4, 3, 3 and 2 with a mean of 3.9.
 
For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL
Technical Information Service Propagation page
<http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html>. To read this week's
Solar Report in its entirety, check out the W1AW Propagation Bulletin
page <http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/>. This week's "Tad Cookism" brought
to you by William Henry Davies' "April's Charms"
<http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/april-s-charms/>. 

__________________________________

==>IN BRIEF:

* This Week on the Radio: This week, the NCCC Sprint Ladder is April 24.
The Florida QSO Party, the Nebraska QSO Party and the SP DX RTTY Contest
are all on April 25-26. Look for another NCCC Sprint Ladder next week on
May 1; the AGCW QRP/QRP Party is also May 1. The Microwave Spring Sprint
is May 2 (local time), The MARAC QSO Party (both CW and SSB), the 10-10
International Spring Contest (both CW and digital), the 7th Call Area
QSO Party, the Indiana QSO Party, the New England QSO Party and the ARI
International DX Contest are all May 2-3. All dates, unless otherwise
stated, are UTC. See the ARRL Contest Branch page
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/>, the ARRL Contest Update
<http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/> and the WA7BNM Contest Calendar
<http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/index.html> for more info. Looking
for a Special Event station? Be sure to check out the ARRL Special Event
Station Web page <http://www.arrl.org/contests/spev.html>. 

* ARRL Continuing Education Course Registration: Registration remains
open through Sunday, May 3, 2009, for these online course sessions
beginning on Friday, May 15, 2009: Antenna Modeling and Radio Frequency
Propagation. Each online course has been developed in segments --
learning units with objectives, informative text, student activities and
quizzes. Courses are interactive, and some include direct communications
with a Mentor/Instructor. Students register for a particular session
that may be 8, 12 or 16 weeks (depending on the course) and they may
access the course at any time of day during the course period,
completing lessons and activities at times convenient for their personal
schedule. Mentors assist students by answering questions, reviewing
assignments and activities, as well as providing helpful feedback.
Interaction with mentors is conducted through e-mail; there is no
appointed time the student must be present -- allowing complete
flexibility for the student to work when and where it is convenient. To
learn more, visit the CCE Course Listing page
<http://www.arrl.org/cep/student> or contact the Continuing Education
Program Coordinator <cce@arrl.org>;.

* No ARRL Audio News for April 24: There will be no ARRL Audio News on
Friday, April 24. The ARRL Audio News will return for May 1 and 8, but
will be on hiatus on May 15 due to the Dayton Hamvention. The Audio News
will resume regular distribution on May 22. 

* Thomas Dick, KF2GC, Returns as Northern New York SM: Thomas Dick,
KF2GC, of Saranac Lake, has returned to the office of Section Manager of
Northern New York. He has taken the reins of the Northern New York Field
Organization from Tom Valosin, WB2KLD, who had been Section Manager
since 2007. When Valosin decided not to run for another term of office,
Dick submitted his nomination petition to run for Section Manager; the
open position was re-solicited in the January 2009 issue of QST. Since
Dick's nomination was the only one received by the receipt deadline, he
was declared elected and his term of office extends through December 31,
2010. Dick has several years of prior experience as a Section leader: He
served as the Northern New York Section Manager from 2000-2006 and as
Section Emergency Coordinator from 1998-2000.

* "Hints and Kinks": Do you have an idea or a simple project that has
improved your operating? Maybe you've taken something commonly found
around the home and developed a ham radio use for it? Why not share your
hints with fellow hams in "Hints and Kinks," a monthly column in QST. If
we publish your hint, you will receive $20. Send your hints via e-mail
to <h&k@arrl.org>;; or to ARRL Headquarters, Attn: "Hints and Kinks," 225
Main Street, Newington, CT 06111. Please include your name, call sign,
complete mailing address, daytime telephone number and e-mail address.
Items in "Hints and Kinks" have not been tested by QST or ARRL unless
otherwise stated. Although we can't guarantee that hints published will
work for every situation, QST makes every effort to screen for harmful
information. 

=========================================================== 
The ARRL Letter is published Fridays, 50 times each year, by the
American Radio Relay League: ARRL--the national association for Amateur
Radio, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111; tel 860-594-0200; fax
860-594-0259; <http://www.arrl.org/>. Joel Harrison, W5ZN, President.

The ARRL Letter offers a weekly e-mail digest of essential and general
news of interest to active radio amateurs. Visit the ARRL Web site
<http://www.arrl.org/> for the latest Amateur Radio news and news
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Material from The ARRL Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole
or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be
given to The ARRL Letter/American Radio Relay League.

==>Delivery problems (ARRL member direct delivery only!):
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==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA,
k1sfa@arrl.org
==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/>
==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call
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Copyright 2009 American Radio Relay League, Inc.
All Rights Reserved

 

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The ARRL Letter offers a weekly summary of essential news of interest to active amateurs that is available in advance of publication in QST, our official journal. The ARRL Letter strives to be timely, accurate, concise and readable.

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