Contact April 2012


April 2012


Vol 10  No 4

April 2012

In this issue:

·         PIO Webinar April 12   <<<

·         HELP – need info for FCC <<<

·         W1AW Video Tour

·         4 New Audio-Video PSAs

·         A New Definition of “PR”

·         Using Pictures in a Release

·         What We Can Learn from Kony Campaign

·         The PR Email Reflector

·         ARRL in DC Next Month

·         What Does PRB-1 Really Say?

·          The Last Word (Analog)



Webinar April 12th


The ARRL Public Relations Committee will be holding a free Webinar for PIOs, PICs, club officers and anyone else that wants to learn the easiest and most effective ways to write up a media release for Field Day and actually get it noticed by the media in your home region.


Learn the tricks of the trade from the people who actually work in radio, television and print media.  Who better can mentor you than the actual type of people you want to take notice of your group or club? 


PIO and Chairman of the PR Committee Steven Polunski, W5SMP, will host the event with our band  starring Bill Husted, KQ4YA, on print,  Mark Kraham, W8CMK, on TV  and Don Carlson, KQ6FM, on the radio.


Please note that some of the auto-reply systems have it starting at 8pm.  That is incorrect, but we cannot get it to change.  The webinar is at 9pm Eastern time.


Can’t make it?  A recording of the event will be posted later on, but hope you can join us live.  Register now!


Field Day Press Release - 4/12/2012

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Title:    Field Day Press Release - 4/12/2012

Date:   Thursday, April 12, 2012

Time:  9:00 PM – 10:30 PM EDT

After registering you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.


System Requirements

            PC-based attendees

            Required: Windows® 7, Vista, XP or 2003 Server


            Macintosh®-based attendees

            Required: Mac OS® X 10.5 or newer





This is important.

We need the help of every PIO and person we can get this month.



Any day now we are expecting to put out a call for information for the FCC’s survey of Amateur Radio use in EmComm and CC&R restrictions as mandated by Congress. 

We will have a *very short* time period to get a lot of info sent in.  The ARRL is setting up special web page forms to quickly get the needed information from hams and put it into special databases and spreadsheets which will organize it for formal presentation.  Once we get the FCC published public notice, we need to go ASAP.  We can do nothing until then.  But it is coming.


What you can do NOW


1.If you are living in an antenna restricted community with a CC&R

             (not a zoning law but a deed restriction)

Make a copy of your CC&R highlighting the part with the restriction.  Also prepare information about any attempts you have made to get it modified or deleted plus specific information if it has interfered with your participation in an emergency event.


2. If you have been part of an Amateur Radio emergency response

            (ARES, RACES, Skywarn or similar responses, not drills)

Make notes on the approximate date/s, type and location of your actions.

What agencies were served and did you had enough hams to meet needs? 

Make special notes if this activity involved working from home stations (such as 911 outages, hurricane nets and Skywarn actions).


Do not send anything in until we see the FCC’s posting and know exactly what they want and how they want it.  But the info above will most likely be involved and once they post their request and we will have a very, very short period in which to get in the info.


Please keep a daily eye on the main ARRL news webpage for the formal announcements.



W1AW Video Tour


Have you seen it yet?  There’s a new video tour of W1AW available on the ARRL website at .



Audio-Video PSAs available


With thanks to Don Carlson, KQ6FM, and Kevin O’Dell, NØIRW, we now have FOUR new public service announcements that can be used in both radio and television applications.  You can see and download them at .



What is “Public Relations” ???

The Public Relations Society of America's campaign to determine an updated definition of "public relations" is over. Following a public vote last month, the winner is:

"Public relations is a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics."

The public vote, which took place from Feb. 13 to Feb. 26, drew 1,447 votes. The winning definition received 671 votes (46.4 percent of the total ballots cast).




A Useful Tool for the Public Information Officer

It goes without saying that a PIO cannot ply his or her trade with just a pad and a pencil anymore.  Today's media require images! 

I've carried around an entry-level DSLR camera for some time now, but I cannot say that I've ever been fully satisfied with it.  Oh, it's worked, but carrying it on my shoulder at hamfests, it was always bumping into people, and it was cumbersome taking it out of its case and putting it back. 

Recently I began considering a compact digital video camera as a possible alternative, and I found to my surprise that the capability of recent models is quite impressive.   From the front, these things resemble cell phones in size and shape.  Therefore, they are very handy to carry.  The one I finally purchased, for about $140, will record up to four hours of high definition video, with sound, on a 16GB SD memory card and shoot 5MP stills as well.  Software included with the camera allows the extraction of stills from the video, along with painless posting to the internet.  It features autofocus, macro and digital zoom.  Auxiliary tele, fisheye, and wide-angle lenses are available, along with a remote control.  Accessory cables allow direct playback on analog TVs (both NTSC and PAL) as well as HDTVs, and they will connect to a computer's USB port.   A tripod socket allows for a more professional video, but some onboard digital image stabilization is included, too.  My camera is waterproof to ten feet and shock resistant.  Several companies offer accessory screw-on light bars to allow night shooting.  The small onboard batteries, which usually can recharge from a USB port, can be augmented with external power packs.  Various models from different manufacturers offer different combinations of these features, and more.

Why do I mention all these features?  Because you get an incredible amount of capability for the price!

Consider how one of these cameras might be used in some typical situations: 

You're covering the activity at an Incident Command Post, where a ham is acting as Net Control.  You can shoot a still photo of the person operating the radios, but how do you convey the urgency of the situation to someone?  How will somebody who wasn't there understand that this individual was handling an exercise or an emergency and not merely ragchewing with an old friend?  Instead, you can shoot some video of the event, and that will easily communicate the urgency of the situation--and at 1080 or 720, it will be broadcast quality.  Even if your local TV station decides not to air the footage, you can still put it on YouTube.

Do you get frustrated because of the delay between pressing the button and the camera actually deciding to record the image?  Take video with your compact camera and extract the perfect still images at your leisure. 

Or, you're frantically trying to make notes for a newspaper press release.  Are you sure you correctly wrote down that person's name or got their quote verbatim?  Instead, why not pull out your compact digital video camera and use it as an audio tape recorder? 

If you're a PIO who really wants to tell the Amateur Radio story efficiently, you should look into purchasing one of these.  It's almost like carrying Gary Pearce, KN4AQ, around in your shirt pocket. 

-Raymond "Woody" Woodward K3VSA
ARRL Public Information Coordinator for North Carolina



Things learned from the Stop Kony 2012 campaign

For two weeks in March, this was the biggest thing on the Internet.  Millions of YouTube hits and Facebook postings were done.  The Twitter hashtag  #stopkony  appeared everywhere.  This is the biggest social media campaign anyone had seen yet.   As of 3/7/12 it was the #1 Tweet and biggest topic on Facebook and it stayed that way for days. So what made it work?


First, they have a “righteous” cause.  This is a no-brainer.  A bad guy needs to be taken off the planet.  I think we all can agree with that.


Second, they have a good video that kicked it off.  Yes it drags a lot, and in my mind it could be edited tighter, but it works.  Kids, family, hope and faces. 


Third, they have a clear target in mind, and they make sure you know what it is.  Make him famous and bring international – and political – attention to him.


Fourth, they have a clear call to action.  This is critical.  They tell the reader/viewer what they want them to do, make sure it is do-able, and even put a timeline for  it (April 20th).


But we know just Tweeting and Friending alone does nothing.  In today’s world it would all be forgotten in 2-3 days as some new thing comes along.  But the call to action makes it quite different from the announcements of Beyonce’s pregnancy (the previous big social media hit in which there was nothing the reader/viewer could do about that).  It will be interesting to see how it all plays out the night of April 20.


But as expected, by March 9 the naysayers and talking heads chimed in that things are not all that simple, it’s colonialism, it’s ignoring other bad guys, it ignores good organizations, it was not our idea, it stereotypes central Africa, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.  But meanwhile the campaign was still chugging along – and all the mounting criticism is just making it even more well known – which was exactly their goal in the first place!


Two more PR points became very apparent:


1. In a crisis, the longer an organization stays silent the more they are perceived to be hiding.  The Kony people went public quickly and continued to get their message – and faces – out before the public.


2. When crisis strikes, your credibility is automatically weakened. It doesn’t matter what the truth is—what matters is the public’s perceived truth. So, how do you regain credibility? Have a credible, outside source speak for you.  In this case they used actual people who had been kidnapped by Kony forces.  It’s hard to argue with that.


Agree or disagree with the campaign’s goals, you have to credit them with a brilliant social media PR campaign.




The PR Email Reflector

Most of you are on the Public Relations email reflector.  If not, and you would like to be, send an email letting us know to  This is just a periodic reminder with some important information about using this reflector.


The PR reflector was designed to provide a forum for sharing information and ideas about Amateur Radio related PR topics. Share your successes, your PR dilemmas or ask a question. The list contains a lot of PIOs, media professionals and League officials who can offer helpful advice. It is important that we keep all postings on the topic of public relations. Many participants belong to other reflector groups and receive a good deal of e-mail on a regular basis. Messages that are off-topic are an inconvenience for those who are here to discuss Amateur Radio public relations.


If you are a member (non-members cannot post and their message is auto-deleted) post a message to <> , and everyone on the list will see it. Reply to a message that someone else has posted, and only the initial poster will see your response. While having the entire group see your response may be a good way to stimulate further conversation, many topics are better one to one.


Depending on your own internet service provider and how they have set up your service, you may or may not be able to post with an address but need to be listed with your actual email address.  Most providers do not cause this problem, but some still do.


Whenever you send a message to the list, please add your name, call sign, section and any other information that is appropriate so others know who and where the message is from.  We especially get a lot of media hits info, but have no idea where they came from.


Please refrain from posting copyrighted news articles on the PR Reflector.  Instead, please just post the URLs.


If you'd like to be removed from the list or you know of someone who would like to join us, e-mail me at .  Last but not least, please advise us of any e-mail address changes.




ARRL at Washington DC Science Festival


ARRL will be presenting Amateur Radio activities at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on April 27-29 in the 2nd USA Science and Engineering Festival

If you are in DC that weekend, stop in!


Saturday, April 28, 10am-6pm
Sunday, April 29, 10am-4pm      


What Does PRB-1 Actually Say?


Hams love to mention PRB-1, the FCC ruling about zoning and other government restrictions on antennas.  But first we need to note that “We reiterate that our ruling herein does not reach restrictive covenants in private contractual agreements. Such agreements are voluntarily entered into by the buyer or tenant when the agreement is executed and do not usually concern this Commission.”  That’s what the current survey is about – CCR’s.   But how many of us have actually read the PRB-1 ruling?  You can find the entire text at  .  As a PIO, it is helpful to have a passing familiarity with it before someone mentions it to media.  The main paragraphs are below....


25. Because amateur station communications are only as effective as the antennas employed, antenna height restrictions directly affect the effectiveness of amateur communications. Some amateur antenna configurations require more substantial installations than others if they are to provide the amateur operator with the communications that he/she desires to engage in. For example, an antenna array for International amateur communications will differ from an antenna used to contact other amateur operators at shorter distances. We will not, however, specify any particular height limitation below which a local government may not regulate, nor will we suggest the precise language that must be contained in local ordinances, such as mechanisms for special exceptions, variances, or conditional use permits. Nevertheless, local regulations which involve placement, screening, or height of antennas based on health, safety, or aesthetic considerations must be crafted to accommodate reasonably amateur communications, and to represent the minimum practicable regulation to accomplish the local authority's legitimate purpose.6

26. Obviously, we do not have the staff or financial resources to review all state and local laws that affect amateur operations. We are confident, however, that state and local governments will endeavor to legislate in a manner that affords appropriate recognition to the important federal interest at stake here and thereby avoid unnecessary conflict with federal policy, as well as time-consuming and expensive litigation in this area. Amateur operators who believe that local or state governments have been overreaching and thereby have precluded accomplishment of their legitimate communications goals, may, in addition, use this document to bring our policies to the attention of local tribunals and forums.

27. Accordingly, the Request for Declaratory Ruling filed July 16, 1984, by the American Radio Relay League, Inc., IS GRANTED to the extent indicated herein and, in all other respects, IS DENIED.


William J. Tricarico



The Last Word


My favorite musician, Joe Walsh, has released a new song that will be part of an album yet to come out.  Analog Man is about being an adult lost in a digital age. (“Get me a 10 year old!”)  You can hear it at


I have been humming it a lot this week as emails went astray and GoToMeeting locked on an 8pm webinar time instead of the correct 9pm and would not let me change it no matter what I did.  My “big” machine that I use to edit videos got sideways as Microsoft, McAfee, Java and something else all demanded to upgrade their programs at the same time.  Meanwhile my iPhone has started getting unwanted (and resented) marketing calls for some reason.  The song just fits this week.  (Thanks Joe!)


But despite my personal daily battle with bits and bytes, the Kony campaign popularity and the coming Science and Engineering Festival show that it indeed is a digital world.  We may take comfort from George Allen’s line, “The world is a tuxedo and I am a pair of brown shoes,” but we need to get used to it.


I believe one important piece of that is “It’s OK to make mistrakes.”  Kids do it all the time on computers and they learn the world does not end.  Maybe they have more time than adults and don’t get so frustrated.  We adults, with less time, want things to happen NOW when we push a key.  If it doesn’t, we’ll hear about it from someone, somewhere.

Kids don’t care, they’ll push the buttons just to see what happens while we worry about deleting whole subdirectories – or sending email to the wrong place. 


So if kids just relax and see what happens, how is it that a 10 year old can be a better computer user than I am?  After all, I began back with an Apple II (even before there was the E model)!   Maybe Joe Walsh has it right for some of us, we’re simply analog.  But that’s OK.  Life’s been good to me so far.


Let’s see what I can do to April 12th at 9pm EDT with running a webinar :-)


Allen   w1agp

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