Contact Aug 2011


2011 McGan Award Winner

Image of 2011 McGan Award Winner

Angel Santana, WP3GW

August 2011

Vol 9, No 8

August 2011




How Many?

Where can I find...

What is a PIO?

            The PIO

            The PIC

Opportunity is knocking

Ham Radio on the DIY top 10 list

The 2011 McGan Award winner is....
Our Ham Radio HobbieS

The Last Word



How Many?


There are 18,362 ARRL Facebook page members as of July 5

There are 466 media and PIO people on the PR email reflector

There are 401 people following ARRL_PR on Twitter

There are 7,848 ARRL Field Organization appointments of various types.

There are 95 PIOs who have been able to pass the PR-101course


Want to find out how many hams are in your state, town or county? 

Go to: 


Looking for national figures on Amateur Radio licenses?




Where can I find....


Want to find pictures, notes and presentations about Amateur Radio? and


Looking for brochures and things for a booth?


Who has been successful in completing PR-101?




What is a PIO ?


Too often we receive an email with the following lines:

“I’m the area PIO.  I write the club’s newsletter.”


NO, That’s not a PIO – that’s a club secretary. 

We also get “media hits” that were never even sent to the news media. 


Writing for the public at large is very different from writing for your own ham friends.  It may be comfortable to post things on your own website, but PR is out in the rough-and-tumble world of media, battling for attention and a story line.  So what really is a PIO? 

Over the past months, the ARRL’s national Public Relations Committee has been asking that question as they worked on updating the job descriptions for ARRL PIO and PIC positions.  A lot has changed in media and it was time to reflect those changes in what a PIO should be doing.


How are YOU doing?  What are you doing?  Is it effective?

The new job descriptions are:


Public Information Officer (PIO)


ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs) are appointed by and report to the ARRL section Public Information Coordinator (PIC) with the approval of the Section Manager (SM). ARRL PIOs are usually chosen from club publicity chairpersons and must be full ARRL members and are recommended to have completed the ARRL’s PR-101 course or its successor.  Additional training for PIOs should be provided regularly on a sectional or regional basis by the PIC and/or other qualified people.

Good "grass roots" public relations activities involve regular and frequent publicizing of amateur activities through local news media plus community activities; school programs; presentations to service clubs and community organizations; exhibits and demonstrations; and other efforts which create a positive public image for Amateur Radio.

Recruitment of new hams and League members is an integral part of the job of every League appointee. Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster growth of Field Organization programs, and our ability to serve the public.


Specific Duties of the Public Information Officer:


Individual activities:

1.            Establishes and maintains a list of media contacts in the local area; strives to establish and maintain personal contacts with appropriate representatives of those media (e.g., editors, news directors, science reporters, etc.).  Understands how stories should be submitted to media outlets and knows the rules for successful media submissions by media type.


2.            Be a contact for the local media and assures that editors/reporters who need information about Amateur Radio know where to find it.


3.            Keeps informed of activities by local hams and identifies and publicizes those that are newsworthy or carry human interest appeal. (This is usually done through news releases or suggestions for interviews or feature stories).


4.            Attempts to deal with and minimize any negative publicity about Amateur Radio and to correct any negative stories which are incorrectly ascribed to Amateur Radio operators.


5.            Generates advance publicity through the local media of scheduled activities of interest to the general public, including licensing classes, hamfests, club meetings, Field Day operations.


6.            Helps individual hams and radio clubs to develop and promote good ideas for community projects and special events to display Amateur Radio to the public in a positive light.


7.            Keeps current and familiar with available materials including ARRL Public Service Announcements (PSAs), knows appropriate websites and social media to post viral media, brochures and audiovisual materials; contacts local radio and TV stations to arrange airing of Amateur Radio PSAs; secures appropriate brochures and audiovisual materials for use in conjunction with planned activities.


8.            Seeks to constantly improve their skills by attending regional training sessions, PR Forums and other training activities endorsed by section PICs.


9.            Submits articles and photographs to ARRL for QST and online applications.


Working with others:


1.            Works with Local Government Liaisons to establish personal contacts with local government officials where possible and explain to them, briefly and non-technically, about Amateur Radio and how it can help their communities.


2.            Works with the section PIC to identify and publicize League-related stories of local news interest, including election and appointment of local hams to leadership positions, QST articles by local authors or local achievements by amateurs.


3.            Keeps the section PIC fully informed on their activities and places PIC on news release mailing list.


4.            Assists the section PIC in recruiting hams for public speaking engagements and promotes interest among community and service organizations in finding out more about Amateur Radio.


5.            Quickly informs the ARRL Media and PR Manager of any issue or significant event noted which may either enhance or damage the reputation of the ARRL.


6.            Networks with other PIOs to facilitate coordination.


Work in Emergencies 

Note: It is highly recommended that the PIO should not also be the Emergency Coordinator. 


1.            Is familiar with local emergency protocols and establishes relations with the lead governmental response agency in their home area and their requirements for the PIO’s participation in a Joint Information Center in an emergency.


2.            Helps local clubs and/or section designated ARES-PIOs (PIOs who are specifically trained and tasked by the SM and/or PIC to work with ARES units) prepare emergency response media plans.


3.            Provides aid to section appointed ARES-PIOs or assume that role if none is available.


4.            Working with the PIC, aids clubs and others involved in emergency response operations in the preparation and contents of PR kits containing vetted information about Amateur Radio in their local area which may be distributed in advance to local Emergency Coordinators for use in dealing with the media during emergencies. During emergencies, these kits should be made available to reporters at the scene, the JIC or at a command post.


5.            Maintains contact with the local Emergency Coordinator and/or District Emergency Coordinator and League officials (local stories often can quickly turn national).


6.            Summarizes Amateur Radio activity in an ongoing situation, and follow up any significant emergency communications activities with accurate and prompt reporting to the media of the extent and nature of Amateur Radio involvement.   They should NOT speak or give information for our served agencies.


7.            Takes free online FEMA courses in the National Incident Management Structure/ICS/Disaster PIO or seeks similar training from the state emergency management office.






Public Information Coordinator


The ARRL Public Information Coordinator (PIC) is a section-level official appointed by and reports to the Section Manager (SM) as the section's expert on public information and public relations matters. The PIC is responsible for organizing, training, guiding and coordinating the activities of the Public Information Officers (PIOs) within the section.  The overall goal of the PIC is to promote interest in Amateur Radio to the non-ham population within their section. 

 The Public Information Coordinator must be a full member of the ARRL and are recommended to have completed the ARRL’s PR-101 course or its successor.  Preferably, PIC candidates will also have professional public relations or journalism experience or a significantly related background in dealing with the public media,

Recruitment of new hams and League members is an integral part of the job of every League appointee. Appointees should take advantage of every opportunity to recruit a new ham or member to foster growth of Field Organization programs, and our ability to serve the public.


 Specific Duties of the Public Information Coordinator:


 Individual activities


1. The PIC is the primary section level person to contact for information about knowledgeable and effective local speakers and representatives who are available to address community groups on the topic of Amateur Radio, and shall work with PIOs to promote interest among those groups.


2. Works with PIOs, SM and ARRL staff to identify and publicize League-related stories of local or regional interest, including election or appointment of ARRL leadership officials, scholarship winners/award winners, QST articles by local authors or local achievements noted or featured in QST.   


Working with your PIOs


 1. Works closely with the section Affiliated Club Coordinator and ARRL affiliated clubs in   the section to recruit and train a team of Public Information Officers (PIOs). With the approval of the Section Manager, the PIC may be delegated to make PIO appointments within the section.


2. Works with the SM to motivate and encourage participation in PR training programs for themselves, PIOs and club publicity chairpersons.


 3. Works with the PIOs to identify and recommend ways to disseminate stories through emerging media, such as social networks.  Develops and maintains a current contact list of media outlets and reporters in the section for use in section-wide news and releases.  


4. Helps local PIOs to recognize and publicize newsworthy stories in their areas. Monitors news releases sent out by the PIOs for stories of broader interest and offers constructive comments for possible improvement.


5. Helps local PIOs in dealing with, and minimizing, any negative publicity about Amateur Radio or to correct negative stories incorrectly ascribed to Amateur Radio operators.


6. Familiarizes self with ARRL Public Service Announcements (PSAs), brochures and audiovisual materials; assists PIOs in arranging air time for PSAs; helps PIOs and speakers choose and secure appropriate brochures and audiovisual materials for events.


7.  Works with PIOs to encourage activities that place Amateur Radio in the public eye, including demonstrations, Field Day activities, etc. and assures that sponsoring organizations are prepared to follow-up on interest generated by these activities.


8. Aids PIOs in holding PR forums and/or training events at ARRL hamfests.


Work in Emergencies 


1. Helps local PIOs, and/or section designated ARES-PIOs, prepare emergency response media plans. 


2. Is familiar with the protocols and establishes relations with the lead governmental response agency in the section and their requirements for the PIC’s participation in a Joint Information Center in a larger emergency.


3. Aids PIOs and clubs in preparation and contents of PR kits containing vetted information on Amateur Radio which may be distributed in advance to local Emergency Coordinators and District Emergency Coordinators for use in dealing with the media during emergencies.


4. Should complete appropriate ICS classes to have equivalent training as required of local or section ARES volunteers.


Working with section leadership


1. Advises the Section Manager on building and maintaining a positive public image for Amateur Radio in the section; keeps the SM informed of all significant events which would benefit from the SM's personal involvement and reports regularly to the SM on activities. At the request of the Section Manager, may assist with preparation of a section newsletter.


2. Encourages, organizes and will conduct a public relations forum at ARRL section conventions

 3. Counsels the SM in dealing with the media and with government officials, particularly when representing the ARRL and/or Amateur Radio in a public forum.


4. Counsels the SM in dealing with the media and with government officials, particularly when representing the ARRL and Amateur Radio in a public forum.  


5. Maintains contact with other section level League officials, particularly the Section Manager and others such as the State Government Liaison, Section Emergency Coordinator, Affiliated Club Coordinator and Bulletin Manager on matters appropriate for their attention and to otherwise help to assure and promote a coordinated and cohesive ARRL Field Organization.


Working with regional and HQ leaders


1. With other PICs, coordinates public relations efforts for events and activities which involve more than one section, and provide input on issues of national significance before the League's Public Relations Committee for their discussion or action.


2. Quickly informs the ARRL Media and PR Manager of any issue or significant event noted which may either enhance or damage the reputation of the ARRL.






Opportunity Knocking


We sent this out on the PR email reflector, but it is too good not to mention here too.


Sherri Brower (a good friend and ex-PRC chairperson) spotted a posting from Technorazzi Magazine asking for submissions from "geeks" about their technical activities and experiments. 


I looked at it and so much of our activities are right up their alley that it was scary!  We have a LOT to write about, from schools and educational activities, to experiments and engineering, to new digital modes.  This is an incredible opportunity! 


Now, remember that the writing has to be aimed at the NON-ham, DIY, Maker Fair type people.

But here is a really great opportunity for our PIOs and others to share our ingenuity and passions.





Ham Radio gear in DIY community’s top 10 want list


“If you build it, they will come.”


Radio Shack wanted to restore its place in the DIY (Do It Yourself) world.  So they spent two months asking the DIY, hacker and similar communities just what they would like to see in their stores.  After a nationwide survey, they posted the results. 


1. Arduino

2. More Kits and Project Suggestions

3. More introduction/instructional books

4. Larger assortment in LEDs

5. Wider variety in resistors

6. TONS more capacitors

7. DIY audio and speaker equipment

8. HAM radio gear

9. More competitive pricing

10. Stronger sales force




McGan Award Winner – WP3GW

WHEREAS, Angel Santana, WP3GW, has demonstrated outstanding volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio at the local and regional levels; and

WHEREAS, his numerous published articles both within and outside the Amateur Radio community have enhanced Amateur Radio’s support; and

WHEREAS, he has fostered an environment that significantly increased public awareness of Amateur Radio through the effective use of local political relationships; and

WHEREAS, his history of active promotion of Amateur Radio encompasses many years and includes print, audio, video, personal appearances, school presentations, volunteer services and friendships with community leaders; and

WHEREAS, he has worked to open our outreach to the Spanish communities through his personal work and also through freely providing translation between languages; and

WHEREAS, his enthusiasm and encouragement of other Public Information Officers has increased their activities in turn;

NOW THEREFORE, the ARRL Board of Directors, at the recommendation of the ARRL Public Relations Committee, awards the 2011 Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award to Angel Santana, WP3GW.


Angel writes, “It came as a surprise when Director Greg Sarratt sent me the notification about winning the 2011 Phillip J McGan Award! Two hours of shock before landing again to Earth.  Now, with this award, I feel the responsibility more and have a reason to let all amateurs learn more about this island in the Caribbean which has more than 4,000 plus active hams and every month no less than 10 new ones are made.   I hope Phil (McGan) is also saying ‘Ya dun good!’   (Haz hecho bien!)”


The Amateur Radio HobbieS


Some time back there was the beginnings of a list of the various hobbies that are generically included under the banner of “Amateur Radio.”  Here’s that list.  We’re sure you can add more to it.  The next time you are asked about the hobby (singular), remember that it’s a lot more than one thing.


75M nightly roundtables               AM         ARES      ATV/FSTV--VHF/UHF                     Balloons/ATV                     Certificate Collecting--General                         Contesting--HF—Domestic          Contesting--HF--DX                        Contesting--VHF/UHF                    Contesting--VHF/UHF Rovering                 County Hunting                                CW                         Digital/Other—HF                Disaster Communications             Dxing/DXCC—HF              Dxing/DXCC--VHF/UHF                 Dxpeditioning                    EME                Family Communications                                Field Day              Foreign Language on AR                               Fox Hunting                IOTA                      MARS                                    Microwaves/Light            Missionary Work and AR               Mobile CW                Mobile—Air       Mobile-                All--General                       Mobile--Bicycle                 Mobile--Maritime/Marine                Packet/APRS--  HF/UHF                                Phone Patching                                Public Service—VHF       PSK        QRP                QSLing/Being a QSL Manager     RACES                   Radio Astronomy             Radio Chess        Radio Controlled                 odels     Ragchewing        Recreational Vehicles and AR                     Remote Station Operation           Repeaters                RTTY                      Satellites              SETI        SSB         SSTV                      SWLing/Scanning             Traffic Nets         VHF--Meteor Scatter VUCC/Grid Collecting                     WPX                      WX Spotting

Business cards

Image of Business cards

Just for fun...

The Last Word

Congrats Angel, and also to the other nominees for the McGan Award.  While it is nice to be an award winner, the real winning is the joy of getting information about Amateur Radio before the public.  Let’s face it; we LIKE to see our work in print and on radio or TV.  It feels really good.  That feeling is what drives most of us, and surely a major piece that makes the best of us.

Did you get a media hit during Field Day?  Now is a really good time to go back to that reporter and invite them to stop by a meeting or activity.  August is a really “dead” news month.  It’s too hot and everyone is taking it slow or on vacation –so little real news gets in your way.  Give them a call (far better than email) and invite them to stop by.  Have a story line in mind and go for it.


-Allen   w1agp