Contact May 2012



Vol 10  No 5

May 2012



In this issue:

·         PRC Webinar May 31 – video  

·         DIY takes the stage at Dayton

·         Comprende ?

·         Field Day release

·         Field Day PSAs

·         “Last Voice out of Kuwait” still excellent

·         Unusual and excellent BBC show about Titanic’s radio

·         Just who are you writing for?

·         Take 150 PIOs and mix well...

·         I need help.  Where’s the help?

·         What are you doing? Media Hits up!

·         The last word



Webinar May 31st 9pm EDT


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 create video for Field Day and actually get it noticed in your home region. 


FOUR professionals will be on hand to explore topics such as:


ü  Equipment choices – get what you need on a budget

ü  Tips and tricks in shooting video of hams

ü  Editing your video the easy way - How to take the video you just shot and proceed to massage and manipulate it into a compelling presentation that gets your point across to the audience.

ü  Distributing your video to news, YouTube, websites and cable


Reserve your Webinar seat now at:

May 31st at 9pm EDT



Want to hear last month’s webinar on news releases?

The audio mp3 recording of the April 12th webinar is available for download.  Go to  and open the “Field Day” folder, then right click and save the file inside it.

We had a very good webinar.  Thanks again to the presenters, PRC and the folks who took part, asked good questions and made it possible.  Now we need to USE the info – and remember it starts with making contacts and friends with media folks.  You can start that today.




DIY Takes the stage at Dayton


2012 ARRL “DIY” Stage

at Dayton Hamvention®


ARRL’s newest Amateur Radio recruitment campaign shows how “makers” and “hackers” are using Amateur Radio as a tool in “Do It Yourself” projects. Hear from hams who are doing-it-themselves! A variety of creative projects and cool technology will be demonstrated by today’s Amateur Radio innovators.

Short presentations on the ARRL Stage (ARRL EXPO area)…

Friday May 18, 2012

11:00 AM

Making a Linksys Router into a HSMM-MESH Node

Kipton Moravec, AE5IB

How to install the HSMM-MESH software into a router, how to set it up and configure it, and where to go next. This is what you need to get started with HSMM-MESH, an Amateur Radio, self-configuring, self-healing, 2.4 GHz Network.

12:00 PM

Launching Radios and Other Cool Stuff into the Stratosphere

Erin King, AK4JG

Have you ever wondered how to plan, prepare, and execute a high-altitude balloon mission? High-school senior and future MIT student Erin King (AK4JG) will give details on the process and experience of putting together and launching a balloon payload, as well as predicting the flight path, tracking it using APRS, and recovering it once it lands.

1:00 PM

Kit Building Essentials plus Assembling Coax Connectors

Joe Eisenberg, K0NEB

Learn some quick tips for building kits, including what tools to use, how to sort and identify parts, and give yourself the best chance for success.   Also, how easily to put on a PL-259 connector. 

2:00 PM

Using Microcontrollers in Ham Radio Projects

George Zafiropoulos, KJ6VU

This presentation will provide an introduction to microcontroller hardware, software development tools and feature several ham radio project examples. Getting started is easier than you think!

4:00 PM

The AMSAT VP for Educational Relations

Mark Hammond N8MH

This presentation will describe the different roles that Technical Mentors and Ground Station Operators play in an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact. Current opportunities for licensed amateur radio operators to become involved as Technical Mentors or Ground Station Operators will be discussed.



Saturday May 19, 2012

10:00 AM

EME on a Shoestring – Almost

Bill Ockert, NDØB

This talk will discuss the minimal station with which you can reasonably expect to have some success with EME.  Topics covered will include what is the best band, what equipment is required, who can you expect to work and how do you get started.

11:00 AM

Station Automation? Yes, You Can

Bruce Jewett, W1GQ

This presentation will provide insight to microcontrollers for station automation. What does Contesting and DX’ing have to do with Microcontrollers? A lot, as Bruce will explain in this session.

12:00 PM

The Wireless Antenna, Communication Using a Broken Antenna Structure

Rhett Spencer,  N7DGL

Most of today’s antennas are still constructed using the same techniques Tesla and Marconi used to concentrate the signal and increase the transmission range. What if there as was a way to increase the antenna performance using the most simple of antenna designs by just eliminating the wire…..

1:00 PM

Building Your Next Project with Software

John Best,  KJ6K

Learn to design and build your own projects using the HamStack microcontroller platform and the C programming language.  Examples include an iambic keyer, and a timer to perform CW ID, control your sprinklers, or just tell the time.

2:00 PM



Hacking with Radios and Arduinos

Bernard Van Haecke KI6TSF

How you can do keyboard-to-keyboard chat over digital radio, portable telemetry with APRS, or APRN (SSTV + APRS).

3:00 PM

UHFSDR - 1.5 MHz to 700 MHz Software Defined Transceiver.

Dave Brainerd, WB6DHW

Design and development of a Software Defined Transceiver for 1.5 to 700 MHz’s Discussion will include free development tools and free software.

4:00 PM

The AMSAT VP for Educational Relations

Mark Hammond, N8MH

This presentation will describe the different roles that Technical Mentors and Ground Station Operators play in an ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station) contact. Current opportunities for licensed amateur radio operators to become involved as Technical Mentors or Ground Station Operators will be discussed.


Sunday May 20, 2012

10:00 AM

Using Microcontrollers in Ham Radio Projects

George Zafiropoulos, KJ6VU

This presentation will provide an introduction to microcontroller hardware, software development tools and feature several ham radio project examples.  Getting started is easier than you think!



We suspected this...

Mobile Web use also takes its toll on comprehension. Research by R.I. Singh at the University of Alberta shows that reading from an iPhone-sized screen produced comprehension scores for complex Web content that were only 48 percent of desktop monitor scores.


Field Day release and be sure to list your site on database

35,000 “Radio Hams” hold national deployment

Public Demo of Emergency Communications June 25-26



ARRL, Newington, CT June 22, 2011-  Over 35,000 Amateur Radio operators will be testing their emergency capabilities this weekend by setting up temporary radio stations in public parks, fields and unusual locations.   Showing the newest digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications and even historical Morse code, “hams” across the USA will be holding public demonstrations of emergency communications abilities.  When the internet, cell phones and other forms of communications went down or were overloaded, the hams’ unique skills saved lives and property.  Thousands of local groups will be demonstrating Amateur Radio at various locations.  To find a site near you, go to .


Over the past year, the news has been filled with reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications during emergencies across America including wildfires, winter storms, the spring tornadoes and other events worldwide. Amateur Radio – often called “ham radio” - was often the only way people could communicate in the first hours of the crises.  As the head of FEMA, Craig Fugate, said, “When everything else fails, Amateur Radio is often times our last defense.”


On the weekend of June 25-26, the public will have a chance to meet and  talk with Amateur Radio experts and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about.  They invite the public to come and see ham radio’s new capabilities and learn how to get their own FCC radio license before the next disaster strikes.  They can even help you get on the air!


This annual event, called "Field Day" is sponsored by ARRL, the national association for Amateur Radio. Using only emergency power systems, their slogan, "When All Else Fails, Ham Radio Works” is more than just words as they prove they can send wireless messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or other systems that can be compromised in a crisis.


There are over 700,000 Amateur Radio licensees in the US and more than 2.5 million worldwide. The ARRL’s Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES®) program provides emergency communications for thousands of state and local emergency response agencies and non-emergency community services too, all for free.


Further Info:


Allen Pitts

Media & PR Manager, ARRL




Field Day Public Service Announcements


Don Carlson, KQ6FM, and I have created two 30 second, mp3 public service announcements for your use.  These are available for download at in the Field Day folder.  Open the folder, right click and “save as”.    I also put them at the very end of this issue of Contact!


There are two of them – one has a space at the end for you to add in your own contact information. 


Please let us know if you use them and how you made out.


ALSO – new video PSAs

Not Field Day specific, but general promotional 30 second video PSA’s are available for viewing or download at



Last Voice out of Kuwait

With the numbers of new hams joining the ranks, it should not be surprising that so many have not heard of this video that was done following the First Gulf War.   But for others of us, it seems like only yesterday.  So, with a high recommendation that you pass on the information, here is one of the links for people to see the video.  It is well worth the time!



Another really good program


I was enthralled by the BBC’s Titanic "In her own words."  They took all the CW conversations of that night and then rebroadcast them as voice, including simulating the signal loss and QRM as the ship sank.  You don’t need to know code for this, but it helps to understand what it is about.  The program was excellently done.



Who are you writing for?

Define news not just by what seems important, but by what seems relevant to the target audience. Sometimes those two are the same, but when they diverge, give bigger play to the story the audience will find most relevant to their own personal lives and experiences.


Take 150 PIOs and mix well....

The PR-101 course now has over 150 graduates!  You can see the list at  and the positive reviews keep coming in.  If you have not yet taken the course, what are you waiting for?  This is your invitation to learn the tips and pointers that make being a PIO fun and productive.... and it’s free!  (Hams like “free”)

Now I know by writing this that someone will take it upon themself to moan and complain just to break things up, but we have yet to have even one person who finished the course say that it wasn’t really good and they learned a lot while enjoying the experience.  So how about you? 

The whole strategy of ARRL’s PR work is based on providing local hams with good material to place in local and regional media.  We have found this to be the most effective and efficient way to cover the country.  It must be working as Amateur Radio is doing just fine in the US while many other countries struggle.  But to make it work, we need an educated corps of PIOs.  PR-101 is the best way to get that and we hope that you will make the most of it.


I need help.  Where’s the help?

While we send out welcome and information notices to new PIOs, some folks don’t realize the wealth of materials and aids available to them for free starting at .  There are pages and pages of audio, video, print, graphics and just about every type of aid we can create just waiting for you to see and download.  You don’t need to re-invent the wheel! 


What are you doing? Do it some more!

Something unusual is happening this spring and it is making us smile.  In past years, the months of March and April were fairly quiet times for media hits about Amateur Radio.  The winter activities were over and while there may be hamfest season starting, there usually wasn’t much media coverage as PIOs were waiting for Field Day.

Not this year! 

Even tossing out the hamfest announcements, special event announcements, obituaries and hits that only happened on dedicated ham radio web pages, both months have resulted in record numbers of media hits – and good ones at that!  It makes choosing what shows in the limited “Media Hits” column in QST very hard indeed. 

We usually post the previous month’s media hits about a week into the following month to allow for slow notifications.  But take a look when you can.  It’s impressive.


The Last Word

A couple simple tips.  Learn to use your word processor’s “insert symbol” commands.  For example, ARES is a program of the ARRL.  It is not an organization – it’s a program.  And the name is a registered trademark.  So to be correct, in the first use of the word ARES in a document it should have that ® with it to look like this:


Another one just like it is SKYWARN.  That’s a program of the NWS and its name is also registered, so it should be like this in the first use in a text:


After the first use, you can leave the symbols off if you want to.

Now where things can really get interesting is in a slogan.  Until recently, the phrase “the national association for Amateur Radio™” had that little TM after it.  The registered trademark was applied for and now is secured, so now it gets changed to a ®.  You may see some things out there that still have the old TM on it and some newer things with the ®.  This is not just an ARRL issue as I have seen other organizations’ slogans that also vary between symbols as they work to get them registered.  It’s very hard to get anything back for updating once it is released.  But for us now, we need to use the ®.

With Field Day coming up, here’s another tip to save you and your group some time and trouble.  The Field Day, ARES and ARRL logo are freely available for you to use on promotional signage, papers and such – but NOT on clothing.  One of the ways ARRL raises funds to do all our activities is in the sale of clothing with ARRL logos on them. 

Finally, I am a firm believer that the best way to get our message out to folks under 30 is using video.  But it needs to be interesting and of decent quality.  Today with computers, this can be done on a relatively small budget.  Cost is no longer an issue, only learning a few tips on doing it well.  The webinar that the Public Relations Committee has planned for May 31 looks really good and I hope you will attend.  I believe that this is going to be significant in the future for media and PR.

Allen   -w1agp

2012 FD logo

2012 FD PSA audio 1


30 second audio PSA with pause at end for local info

2012 FD PSA 2


30 second audio PSA (full)