*************** 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 <firstname.lastname@example.org> ==>Editorial questions or comments only: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA <email@example.com> =========================================================== ==> 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 <firstname.lastname@example.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 <email@example.com>; 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 updates. The ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> also offers informative features and columns. ARRL Audio News <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> is a weekly "ham radio newscast" compiled and edited from The ARRL Letter. It's also available as a podcast from our Web site. 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!): firstname.lastname@example.org ==>Editorial questions or comments: S. Khrystyne Keane, K1SFA, email@example.com ==>ARRL News on the Web: <http://www.arrl.org/> ==>ARRL Audio News: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/audio/> or call 860-594-0384 ==>How to Get The ARRL Letter The ARRL Letter is available to ARRL members free of charge directly from ARRL HQ. To subscribe, unsubscribe or change your address for e-mail delivery: ARRL members first must register on the Members Only Web Site <http://www.arrl.org/members/>. You'll have an opportunity during registration to sign up for e-mail delivery of The ARRL Letter, W1AW bulletins, and other material. To change these selections--including delivery of The ARRL Letter--registered members should click on the "Member Data Page" link (in the Members Only box). Click on "Modify membership data," check or uncheck the appropriate boxes and/or change your e-mail address if necessary. (Check "Temporarily disable all automatically sent email" to temporarily stop all e-mail deliveries.) Then, click on "Submit modification" to make selections effective. (NOTE: HQ staff members cannot change your e-mail delivery address. You must do this yourself via the Members Only Web Site.) The ARRL Letter also is available to all, free of charge, from these sources: * ARRLWeb <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/>. (NOTE: The ARRL Letter will be posted each Friday when it is distributed via e-mail.) * The QTH.net listserver, thanks to volunteers from the Boston Amateur Radio Club: Visit Mailing Lists@QTH.Net <http://mailman.qth.net/mailman/listinfo/letter-list>. (NOTE: The ARRL cannot assist subscribers who receive The ARRL Letter via this listserver.) Copyright 2009 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved
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