ARRL

Contact July 2011

Media

Content Title

 

 

Vol 9, No 7

July 2011

 

IN THIS EDITION:

 

 

 

 

Field Day Preliminary Results

 

Media Hits from Field Day are still coming in and already we have over 330 hits from the ARRL’s wire release (which takes 10 pages just to list them).  But that’s only the wire release.  There are over 33 more pages listing the hits achieved by PIOs and clubs!  Last year was a record-setter for hits, but this year easily tops even that level. 

 

As expected, most of the hits linked Field Day activities to our emergency capabilities.  There were far fewer stories about our technologies or the friendship side of Amateur Radio.  The patterns of hits around the country also followed last year.  In those areas where the section leadership actively promotes outreach and publicity, there were many hits.  In areas where section officials do not see it as a priority, there were few or even none.

 

There were many more television news hits this year and happily most of the hams presenting on the screen were appropriately dressed, articulate and did well.  The number of broadcast radio stories and interviews seemed about the same as previous years, but there was more play for the PSAs leading up to the event.

 

The experiment with Twitter did not work out.  It appears that while the hams that “Tweet” are enthusiastic about this social networking option, there actually are few of them as tweetreach.com shows we only reached 2,911 people via 50 tweets and we know of no actual results where someone showed up or a non-ham became interested. 

 

We only know of a few people that tried to work with the QR code option.  While this technology is now quite common in Europe, it is still new to the US.  We shall see how it grows over the coming year and keep it as a possibility for next year.

 

A list with most of the hits that we have collected thus far is posted at www.arrl.org/now-hear-this .

 

Now Hear This & Twitter

 

Just a reminder that we are posting new and topical information in text, audio and video forms at www.arrl.org/now-hear-this .  It changes about once a week, depending on what is going on.  Be sure to stop in.

 

We’re also posting on Twitter at #ARRL_PR when there’s something worth saying.

 

IARU

 

The fat lady hasn’t sung yet!  The next opportunity to get media hits is coming up soon! 

 

The annual IARU HF World Championship will be held on the weekend of July 9 and 10, 2011.  The complete rules can be found at http://www.arrl.org/iaru-hf-championship.  IARU Headquarters (HQ) stations and IARU Officials (AC, R1, R2 and R3) will be QRV during the contest. 

 

This is open to any licensed Amateur.

 

Why is this one different?  Because it is not a US based contest, but internationally.  So – if you have a person – or better yet a team of people – that are going to work the contest, then you have a good local story!   How often is it that a local home team gets to compete in a world cup level event?

 

Find out if you have someone in your area – or create a team yourself.

Let the media know you are going after a world class title.

Give background info about the teams’ people.  (Even better if you have a youth or two in the gang)  Pictures of the team are good.  Have a web page where local citizens can get regular updates on how it is going?

 

You know how to play it up...  and if you have a person or a team there, you have a good story!

 

 

Maker Faire Opportunities

You probably know about the huge “Maker Faires” in New York and California.  But even the smaller ones are loaded with opportunities to promote Amateur Radio to a young and technical audience.  This is a case where you don’t have to “sell it” because they are already interested.  You just have to show it and how to get started.  For example, here’s a condensed report from North Carolina.

 

The 2011 edition of the North Carolina Maker Faire is now history, and from the viewpoint of those of us hams who manned a table there, it was quite an exciting ride!  This was the second year for a Maker Faire here in the Tarheel State, and our experience last year convinced us that Amateur Radio ought to be officially represented.  For those of you who've never heard of a Maker Faire, I'll do my best to describe one.  They are all about building or repurposing things.  Imagine people from all the technically creative disciplines you can think of:  Robotics hobbyists, high altitude sounding balloons, computer geeks, but also musical instrument makers, textile creators, Lego builders; all together under one roof demonstrating their various fields of interest to thousands of visitors.  That's what a Maker Faire is!  The flagship Maker Faire events take place in New York and California and are Dayton Hamvention-sized events, except that the average attendee is in his or her twenties.   Last year, one was held in North Carolina, and it was so successful that another was held this year on Saturday, June 18 (the week before Field Day).  Our experience last year convinced us that Amateur Radio ought to be officially represented, because this kind of event is a mother lode of potential new hams.  Where else can you find thousands of young, technologically astute people in one place at one time?  Therefore, we asked for and got a "makers" table.

Our action plan included a "learn to solder" station, an introduction to Morse code (kids LOVE Morse code!), as many kit-built radio projects as possible, and of course, tons of literature to give out.   First on the scene was Dietolf "Dee" Ramm, KU4GC, who had some ingenious LED flashlights he constructs from old prescription bottles and plastic bottle caps.  I myself (Raymond "Woody" Woodward, K3VSA) arrived next with about 75 pounds of brochures and handouts and a single-board PSK-31 rig loaned to us by Adriano Marcuz, KV7D.    At 9:30 that morning, our North Carolina Section Manager, Bill Morine, N2COP, showed up with an Elecraft "trail friendly" CW rig and solar panels to run it.  He also brought his Kent "RMS Titanic" replica Morse code key, which was a big hit.

We had just finished unloading when the doors opened at 10:00 AM.  From that time until the 5:00 PM closing, there was never a moment when we didn't have at least one inquisitive person at our table learning about contemporary Amateur Radio.  The press of interested visitors was so great that we never even had a chance to plug in the soldering iron or do the code demonstration.  It was just a nonstop sea of people!  We answered a million questions and gave away a ton of literature, including League brochures and old copies of QST.

Gary Pearce, (KN4AQ, was there with his HD video cameras and got over an hour of good footage for future promotional material.  There were hams everywhere.  The two guys at the table next to ours, selling custom-made Star Wars light sabers, were both hams.  At least two other tables had hams in attendance.  There must have been fifty other hams who stopped by to say hello, many who'd become inactive and may well get involved once again. 

It was an exhausting, long day, but it was well worth the investment of time.  We got to talk up ham radio with more prospective newbies in seven hours that we'd have an opportunity to meet in a year!  Sure thing, we'll do this next year! 

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

 


Depiction Webinar

Note:  CONTACT! does not promote one product or service over another, but as PIOs we need to at least be aware of what is developing in the field and able to answer questions.  Here’s FYI information sent to us about a commercial EmComm software option I never heard of before.  It may be new to you too.

 

Amateurs can use Depiction to enhance their emergency communications capabilities. At 10 PM ET/7 PM PT on the second Tuesday of each month, join Tim O'Shea, KY7Y, for a look at ways that Depiction is being used in EmComm. Whether you're a Depiction expert or are just scoping out the software, you're bound to learn something new during this informative webinar series.

Depiction Software allows amateur radio operators to map, plan, collaborate, simulate and evaluate almost any type of disaster or emergency, and it will even plan your special event, bike race, parade, just about anything that needs mapping and planning.  If you are interested in improving your skills with Depiction, or just want to become more familiar with this powerful software, then please plan to join us for this exciting webinar series.

To register for the webinar, please go to:  http://www.depiction.com/webinars/amateur-radio.

73,

Tim O'Shea KY7Y

Tim is the Assistant Emergency Coordinator and Public Information Officer for Washoe County ARES/RACES in Nevada, the ARRL Nevada State Government Liaison (SGL) and a Depiction Preferred Consultant.

 

A Special Event Briefing Kit

Pete Heins, N6ZE, is a successful PIO.  He sent in information about how he created a “Briefing Kit” that works for Field Day or any special operating event.

 

For a bunch of years, I have had a limited number of "Briefing Packets" available for Media and VIP Visitors who visit our F/D operation. I utilize 3 hole color paper binders, with enclosure pockets. My VCARS PIO Business card is stapled on cover #2 page.  Each year, I update as necessary: add/subtract clubs & their urls, cover sheets with current that year's F/D logo, PIO Briefing points.

 

Pages currently included:

1.     This year's clubs along with >>>>www.qrz.com/db/n6r<<<<

2.     List of participating clubs with web site, area served, meeting place, and specialty

3.     2 pager of why Field Day is held etc and reasons for ham radio's existence

4.     PIO briefing points including

a.     Number of hams in Ventura Co., CA, USA, worldwide

b.     unique pool of trained people, commonality of gear, etc

c.     operating modes

d.     cost of equipment: Min, typical, max

e.     Public Svc referring to ARES/RACES/ACS etc

f.      Licensing info

g.     bio. of 'typical ham'.... "student> PhD...homemakers, students, building mtc personnel, engineering workers, MDs, nurses, police, pilots, mechanics, biologists, teachers, & social workers

h.     Reasons to have license.

5.     D, E, F2, F2 layer charts & bounces

6.     1 page each for each HF, VHF, UHF, microwave band by mode. station used for; advantages, disadvantages, range day/night/diurnal/ 11 year

 73

Pete Heins, N6ZE

VCARS PIO

 

 

 

The Last Word

I believe in Amateur Radio

 

Ellwood Brem, K3YV, lives in Spring Mills, PA with his wife Sharon, N3SG, and his two cats Rho and Theta -the Gamma sisters.  Recently he sent in a short piece which I think needs to be seen by others.  I know many of us could write similar tracts.  But in his simple way Ellwood speaks for us all.  Thanks Ellwood!

 

I believe the world would be a more peaceful place if we were all Amateur Radio operators. I’m an Amateur Radio operator — sometimes called a ham radio operator — and I’ve been one for 49 years. I delight at talking on my short-wave radio to people all over the world. Regardless of country, we’re all friends in the ham-radio world. I was just 13 years old when I happened upon an Amateur Radio magazine. I was awed that with a small radio and a simple wire antenna, I could talk to people around the world. Soon, adult radio amateurs noted my interest and took me under their wing. They nourished my thirst for this strange and wonderful hobby. Now, I introduce others to Amateur Radio.

 

Over the years I’ve talked with radio amateurs from all corners of the world. Sometimes the other ham doesn’t speak English well, but through the language of Amateur Radio, we find understanding, kind words and a sense of belonging. Most of the people I talk to on ham radio are passing acquaintances. But now and then I meet someone I really get along with, like Don. When I first talked with Don, he lived in Indiana with his wife and one child. He was older than me, but we became good friends. We talked every week on our radios. Over the course of our friendship, Don moved and had more kids; I graduated from Penn State and entered the working world. Eventually we both retired. Don retired to Florida, and I stayed in State College. We never lost touch, although our radio chats became less frequent.

 

Don passed away a few years ago, a victim of cancer. I miss my friend, and I miss our chats. But for 40 years Amateur Radio gave me one of the best friends I’ve ever had. Amateur Radio lets me help others. When I returned from Vietnam many years ago, I spent my Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays operating radio-assisted telephone calls for our overseas military personnel. My specialty was radio phone patches for ships stationed in the Mediterranean Sea. In those days, worldwide communications were not as easy as today. Without the help of radio amateurs, our sailors would not have been able to speak with their loved ones during the holidays.

Nowadays, I help out with community activities like bike-a-thons, walk-a-thons or other events where cell phone communication isn’t possible. Most of the radio communications I provide are routine, but sometimes they are critical. I have more than once had to guide ambulance responders to the scene of an accident. I enjoy helping others with my hobby. Amateur Radio took me off the street at a time when I needed something higher to aspire to. It has led to a wonderful lifelong hobby and to a great career in electrical engineering.

I have witnessed Amateur Radio steadily change with advancements in technology. Recently, radio amateurs are exploring digital based communication systems by combining radios and computers into hybrid systems.  Regardless of traditional or new technology, the wonder of Amateur Radio never changes.

Amateur Radio has given me many friends at home and around the world. Now, after nearly 50 years, I still look forward to each day and wonder, “Who will I meet today?” I believe in amateur radio.

 

Ellwood Brem – K3YV

3568 Penns Valley Rd. Spring Mills, PA 16875

(k3yv@arrl.net)