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August 2010

Contact August 2010

In This Issue

In this issue:

Get Ready for September Anniversary
Web Support for PIOs

More on the Ready campaign

Amateur Radio Today on DVD

Ideas for next year’s Field Day


People in Action

Blogging & Flogging

The Last Word

Getting ready for September!

75th Anniversary of ARES

ARES 75th Logo

Content Title

The 75th Anniversary of ARES® starts in September. . Are you getting ready?

This is an excellent opportunity to make some real PR waves in your community. What’s not to like in a story about 75 years of volunteers using their specialized skills and equipment to help communities in the worst of times?

We’ll be sending special “Birthday Card” invitations and stickers to PIC’s and SM’s for distribution to their PIOs. There will be special releases on the ARRL Website for you too. There will be shirts and logos and even a special “challenge coin.” (If you don’t know what a challenge coin is, just ask a veteran.)

August is the time to get ready for the September launch, and we’ll help you do it. Keep an eye on the PR email reflector as the month unfolds.

75th Cards

Image of 75th Cards

Cards will be sent to PICs or SMs for distribution in their sections. PIOs can fill in their contact info and send them to media announcing the anniversary and inviting them to get more information.


Web Support for PIOs

Have you been to the ARRL’s Web support for PIOs yet? There’s a LOT of things to see! Here’s just some of them awaiting you:

Almost weekly audio of current events

Download the ‘Knife

Get on the Email reflector

Get training as a PIO

All sorts of “backgrounders”

Awards for media work

Listing of media hits we see

Major ways to promote ham radio

Audio and video ads

What does a PIO or PIC do

…and of course, current and past issues of CONTACT!

Take a look, play around. You’ll always find new things of interest.

More on the Ready Campaign

FEMA’s Ready Campaign would like to remind all Coalition Members of the resources available online to assist with this campaign. The Coalition Members section of our NPM Web site offers a toolkit ( which includes templates, resources and tips to assist you with promoting emergency preparedness.

What events and activities are you doing? We ask that you post your events to the NPM Calendar. This is a great way for us and other organizations to see what is happening around the country. (

In addition to upcoming events, you can share your success stories and read about the successes of others to assist in the planning and preparation of your event (

To learn more about NPM, visit and click on the NPM banner. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact the Ready Campaign at

The Ready Campaign is happy to announce the launch of a new National Preparedness Month (NPM) widget!

The new widget is a small, National Preparedness Month graphic, which links to’s NPM resources. It is available for download and can be pasted on the end of your e-mail signatures or on your web site.

Amateur Radio Today DVD’s coming back

Amateur Radio Today has been a favorite video for several years. It is available as a free download at but we ran out of DVD’s a while ago. Still, we’ve been getting requests for them. Now Steve Ford has helped resurrect the Amateur Radio Today DVD using our print-on-demand manufacturer, Lulu. Because it is a limited run, the retail price is expected to be around $10.95 plus shipping. But for those of you who have been looking for the full DVD copy, they should be available later this month.

An idea for next year’s Field Day

For Field Day PR, the Olive Branch ARC tried a new approach toward attracting folks to their operating site. KD5CKP purchased two 'House Radios' off of E Bay. These low powered radios operate in the upper part of the AM Broadcast Band and are placed by realtors in front of houses that are for sale. A small sign placed in the yard of the property tells the prospective buyer what frequency to listen to on their car radio to get details on the house that is for sale. Seeing that non-hams are sometimes reluctant to approach a site with wires everywhere and strange noises coming from little boxes, the Olive Branch

Club placed a sign and a 'House Box' near their Field Day Site in City Park. After listening to the pre-recorded message over their AM Radios by KD5CKP explaining what was going on at the Field Day Site, the Olive Branch Club had many more visitors than they would normally have had. Great Idea!

Best 73 de W5XX

Here’s what they had on the house radio….

"House Radio" promo


This was the announcement on the low-powered broadcast type radio often used to sell houses. It was used effectively in promoting their Field Day location.


Another idea that works – Buildathon

It’s no secret that one of the most popular stations at the ARRL Expo in Dayton this year was building kits. The tables were swarmed every day! But this works for kids too – even in New Zealand. The ZL3 Radio Buildathon Youth Community event as part of CCC Kidsfest may be read here:

David W Searle, ZL3DWS, ZL3 Radio Buildathon Coordinator

People in action

There are many GREAT Public Information Coordinators out there. “Woody” Woodward of North Carolina, K3VSA, is a new PIC who not only has been incredibly active in his first months, but has also created a special Web site for his PIOs. Check it out at . This is something other sections and PIC’s can copy.

Great idea!

While on the subject…

Special “Ya dun gud!” notations should also go to Joe Gadus, KD5KTX, for his support to PIOs in South Texas and to Walt Palmer in Delaware, W4ALT, for his political success in Field Day.

More Tips on Blogging Flogging – or how to survive the forums

Stay cool, on topic and factual

A “Troll” is a person who has no life other than go about in the Internet and try to pick fights. Usually anonymous, they get their joy in getting others upset. Ignore them as QRM.

The group is your friend

The entire basis for Group Therapy is that there is a common wisdom in a group which can, and will, eventually rise to the surface. Things will eventually resolve as a group likes to have order. Discussion groups on the Internet are no different.

Read the whole thing before commenting

Yes, it can be emotionally “painful,” to read the comments left on Web sites at times. But before you begin writing – or even thinking about – a response, read the whole thing. You will often find key information far down in the text that is not apparent in the first line or three.

Don’t be afraid to use your name – “anonymous cowards” get no respect

Some Web sites do not give you the option, but if possible don’t be afraid to use your name. Anonymous postings get little respect. If we’re telling the truth, why hide?

Negative comments are not always bad

The computer giant Apple recently had a major PR problem. There were negative comments about their new cell phone posted to their Web site – and instead of responding, they deleted them! What started out as constructive criticism and suggestions quickly turned into a PR brawl. Negative commenters just might be your friends trying to make things better.

Don’t get personal – don’t let it get to you personally

I know we get emotionally invested in our hobby. We also have times when we just know we are right and they are wrong (and idiots!). There are times we just need to take a step back and go do something else for a while.

The Last Word

“Ya dun good”

Phil McGan

I never met Phil McGan, WA2MBQ (SK). I wish I had because the more I read about him the more I think I would have liked him. From what I have learned, it is no wonder that the New Hampshire Amateur Radio Association named the Silver Antenna Award for volunteer public relations work after him. Over time, the “Silver Antenna” part of the award’s name has quietly fallen out of common use and we usually just call it the “McGan Award.” That is prestigious enough, even without the silver plating. He must have been quite a person.

The McGan award goes to that ham who has demonstrated success in Amateur Radio public relations and best exemplifies the great volunteer spirit of Phil McGan.

It’s fitting then that Norm Lauterette, WA4HYJ, of Casselberry, Florida was named the 2010 recipient. I cannot recall meeting Norm either, even though he has been a PIO for two decades.

“I fell into being a PIO from my days in ARES twenty years ago. They needed someone to appear on camera for TV news and I was elected. I was very nervous as first because I hadn’t been trained as a journalist and I was the world’s worst speller. Over time I developed confidence, and learned to cultivate relationships with local editors and news directors.”

I like Norm. (I too cannot spell all that well and still am nervous in front of cameras.) Yet he has succeeded very well.

Norm says, “It’s not hard to become a PIO. You need to be passionate about Amateur Radio, be dedicated in promoting your club and its members, and take advantage of the tools and training from ARRL.”

Norm Lauterette

Well, maybe. But there’s also something to be said for just being a “true human being” and having that twinkle in your eye. Phil had it. Norm has it too.

Ya dun good, Norm.


Don’t forget – the Bill Leonard Awards for professionals who have done good things for Amateur Radio in the media (audio, video, print) are coming up soon. If you have had a really good hit in media in the past year, check out


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