Contact Feb 2012


February 2012


Vol 10  No 2

February 2012

In this issue:

·         Live tour of W1AW Feb 12th

·         PRC holds Webinar April 5th

·         Defining Public Relations

·         Great DIY Examples

·         DIY at Dayton – show your project!

·         National Do Not Call List

·         Press Tips from KQ4YA

·         An Unexpected Hit

·         KAØXTT station video

·         Field Day Warnings

·         The Last Word



LIVE Webcast tour of W1AW Feb 12th

On Sunday, February 12th at 5 p.m. Eastern time, ARRL and Al Petrunti of The New Day Group will webcast a LIVE tour of W1AW – the ARRL flagship station.  Amateurs around the country (and the world) will be able to watch it at  .

“Hams around the world know of W1AW and thousands have made contacts with this impressive station, but most never get to see it,” said Allen Pitts, W1AGP, who is producing the event.  “Thanks to Al Petrunti’s group, we hope that folks enjoy seeing what’s at the other end of the signals.”

You will be there as Petrunti, KA1TCH, local weatherman Geoff Fox, K1GF, and others are given a tour by Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q.  As in all live broadcasts, you never know just what might happen.  We invite you to join us.  Petrunti, KA1TCH, also created the video about HR-607 for ARRL.

You can learn more about W1AW at  and about the New Day Group at



Webinar - How to Write a Press Release

The national Public Relations Committee will sponsor a webinar on how to write a really good press release and deliver it, covering pitches to Radio, TV and Print media.  Keyed to your Field Day activities, this will be a definite help to many PIOs.  The date going to be early in April, somewhere between 8–11 pm eastern time. Bill Husted, KQ4YA, Bill Morine, N2COP and Mark Kraham, W8CMK, will be on the panel.  Mark your calendars and keep an eye out for more info to come.


PRSA Definitions

The Public Relations Society of America (PRSA) unveiled the three candidates for the definition of public relations.  Notice that the common element is the building of relationships.  Here they are – each with their own little nuance.  Which one do you think is best?

Definition No. 1:
Public relations is the management function of researching, engaging, communicating, and collaborating with stakeholders in an ethical manner to build mutually-beneficial relationships and achieve results.

Definition No. 2:
Public relations is a strategic communication process that develops and maintains mutually-beneficial relationships between organizations and their key publics.

Definition No. 3:
Public relations is the engagement between organizations and individuals to achieve mutual understanding and realize strategic goals.



Great DIY Examples


This past month I spotted Erin King’s video on YouTube.

If you have not seen it yet, it is definitely worth the time as it is
VERY nicely done!  This is exactly the type of project we are celebrating in the new ARRL DIY campaign.....using ham radio as a tool for other things. 

Another one (and most unusual!) was Brendan O'Connor’s write-up in which he dubbed his new project the "F-BOMB" -- for Falling or Ballistically-launched Object that Makes Backdoors.  K3QB is working on a small, disposable and CHEAP device to be used in surveillance that has gotten the attention of no less that DARPA.  He credits his ham radio experience.  $50 F-BOMB: Cheap spying for stalkers, hackers, or cash-strapped feds

DIY at Dayton – got a project?


ARRL PR will again have a booth at Dayton, but we’ll be trying something different this year.  Continuing with the DIY theme, we are lining up folks to show off  their own DIY projects in short (under 30 minutes) show-and-tell presentations.  We have several slots left open right now, but they may not last long.


Know of a Maker type ham going to Dayton?  Let them know about this opportunity to show off their project in the ARRL Expo.  We will be putting out publicity and schedules for hamfest attendees as things get closer.  But they can sign up now by sending an email with information about their work to 




National do not call list


Very soon telemarketers will start calling on cell phones.  If you are like me, you pay for the time of these calls even if you didn’t initiate them.  Nor do I want to be bothered with them.  But there is a way  out of some of it.  There’s a national “do not call” list that is some protection.  It may not help you survive the oncoming flood of political robo-calls later this year, but it’s better than nothing.  You can help others in your community by sharing the word.  See




Some Press tips from Bill...


Bill G. Husted, KQ4YA, writes the syndicated Technobuddy column out of the Atlanta Journal Constitution and has a strong newspaper/print background.  

Here are some rules that do apply to pitching a specific ham radio event.

1. Reporters are busy, often working on a deadline with just minutes to go ... so first check if it is a convenient time and, if not, set a specific time to call gain.

2. Make personal contact if you can and then send the press release. Depending on the size of the newspaper and the workload on a given day press releases - no matter how good - sometimes go right into the trash. That's especially true if you're dealing with a large state or regional newspaper.

3. Find out the right person to approach. If the newspaper has someone who covers technology, great. If not, try the Features department. Of course, in very small papers your best contact may be the editor.

4. Be ready to mention - near the start of the conversation - something that makes this event special, a bit different than the event that was held last year. Here are some examples (1) This year one group will be using a large weather balloon to pull up an antenna or (2) did you know that one of these groups will be using a thing called a potato launcher to get their antennas in the tree. Those are just examples. But find something that applies to this year's event in your area that might interest a non-ham reporter or editor.

5. If you say you'll do something - whether it is deliver a press release or set up a meeting, be on time and do what you say you'll do. A reporter is unlikely to stick around if you're late for a meeting or in making a telephone call. There is always a shortage of time in the news business.

6. If you or someone in your group knows someone at the newspaper or broadcast outlet, by all means use that friendship or acquaintance. There's nothing wrong with that.

7. If people who are well-known in your community are taking part - make sure you mention that - for instance, "did you know that Dr. Jones, the school superintendent, is a ham? He'll be there."


An Unexpected Hit

Craig Fugate is the head of FEMA.  So imagine the scene of sitting at your desk one day and suddenly seeing this “Tweet” show up on your computer...

> @CraigatFEMA Craig Fugate

> Amateur Radio, part of the emergency team, follow them at @arrl , the

> national association for Amateur Radio,


Now you can’t get much better than that.  In trying to find out how this came about (I wasn’t there, didn’t do it, it’s all circumstantial, I have an alibi, it wasn’t me!), we still don’t really know but have a suspicion that Fugate noticed ARRL was following him on Twitter. 

But now what do you do?  As a PIO, how would YOU respond to this situation?

My answer and response is at the end of this  issue. 


Mike’s Ham Station

Mike Baxter, KAØXTT, the fictitious ham of Last Man Standing, has a nice station in his office.  The show’s crew recently made a video of it that is on Facebook.  You can see it at


Field Day warnings

The initial Field Day 2012 packet is going out Feb 1st.  You will note that once again there are several pages in it of tips and “fill-in-the-blank” options for you in promoting Field Day activities.  With all the cell phone bills floating about the country, I believe one of the biggest aids we can give Amateur Radio is getting state level politicians to Field Day sites and “educating “ them about hams.  If we fail to do this we will only have ourselves to blame later.  The packet contains a draft invitation.  Once you know where your group will be, send it out.  Follow it up again in a few weeks as schedules and things change.

Talk to your section leadership to be sure you know what you are talking about if you raise the topic of cellphone bills.  Well meaning hams have said the wrong things and actually hurt some areas badly!  Be sure to let your SM know ahead of time if you have politicians coming. 


The Last Word

It’s a very good time for Amateur Radio and PR.  The DIY campaign is just out and has already attracted a lot of positive attention both in the US and internationally.  Ham radio woven into Last Man Standing on national television is also a major plus.  We have more licensees than ever before.  Ham radio has played small but positive parts in several movies.  There are short wave ham radio shows like Ted Randall and regular live webcasts like Bob Heil and Gordo. Interest in the hobby is high and most clubs are quite active.  Even the sunspots are coming back.

But the real positive is that Amateur Radio in the US remains in an excellent position in spite of the lack of emergency events.  This is not to minimize the losses of folks that were caught in the tornadoes recently, but they were localized events.  We have not had a Katrina or a 9-1-1 or a major earthquake here in many years.  While hams remain prepared, we have not been really needed due to a large scale incident for many years.  It is the non-emergency side of Amateur Radio that is carrying the ball now – the Hello and WeDoThat part of us.  And we’re still doing fine.

Allen  w1agp


We Tweeted back a reply to his original message this way:

Amateur radio is proud to be on the team, @craigatfema ! #hamradio #ARRL #ares