Contact Nov 2012








Vol 10  No 11

November 2012



In this issue:


·         JOTA 2012 results

·         Time running out for Leonard

·         “Sandy”

·         How to report a major activity to the media

·         How many?

·         Got a Local Hero?

·         The Last Word



JOTA 2012 Results

The week or so after the recent Jamboree on the Air, held October 20-21, is a bit early to assess the overall participation level and impact. However, registration in the USA for this year’s event hit an all time high with 375 stations registering at  This is up from the 162 stations that registered their operations in 2011. Overall, anticipated 2012 participation from those registered stations was at just over 31,000 Scouts.


Early reports show high levels of activity and some great news coverage. The National Scouting Museum hosted 328 Scouts and parents to a JOTA event with fox-hunting, HF, VHF, UHF, and satellite stations. But the highlight was a 15-minute contact with Sunita Williams, KD5PLB, commander of the International Space Station. Audio available at  A news crew covered the event for three local television stations with coverage on Saturday’s evening news along with two Sunday morning news shows.


We also note coverage for events in Mayville, NY  and Jerome, ID  and at


Full results aren’t expected until mid-November. The BSA is using an online reporting system this year that will help compile the results and, hopefully, ease the reporting task for the stations.


73, Jim Wilson, K5ND

National JOTA Organizer


Time is running out for



2012 has been another good year for Amateur Radio in the media.  Our emergency actions were praised and there were many stories about the joy of do-it-yourself communications. We even had fewer “old radio” comments.  Did you spot a good, ham radio Media Hit?  Was a reporter helpful to your club or group?  Now it is time to say “Thank You!” to the professional media people. The way to do that is to nominate them for the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award.

This is a national level, annual award that honors three professional journalists whose outstanding work in audio, video and print formats best reflect the enjoyment, importance and public service value of the Amateur Radio Service.

The Award is divided into three categories, each with its own award

a.    Audio formats

b.    Visual formats

c.    Print and Text formats

The award is sponsored by the ARRL – the national association for Amateur Radio.  Nominations are judged by members of the ARRL national PR Committee, and the final decision is made by the ARRL Board of Directors at their meeting in January 2013. The winners each receive an engraved plaque and a donation of $250 will be made in each of their names to the charity of their choice. The deadline for receiving nominations is 5pm on December 9, 2012.

The award was created as a tribute to the late CBS News President Bill Leonard, W2SKE, an avid Amateur Radio operator.  Full information, rules and entry forms are at .  Recipients must be professional journalists in print, electronic media or multimedia. The term "professional" refers to full time, part time, stringers, freelancers and contract journalists.  In the case of a group project, the recipient may be the group, but only one prize will be awarded.   We’re looking for media pieces that are truthful, clear and accurate, and reflect high journalistic standards. The award will be granted to the works deemed the best reflection of the enjoyment, importance and public service value of Amateur Radio.

If your group got a good news hit or article, what better way to respond than to nominate the person who publicized it?  Media professionals can submit their own work, but it is best when hams themselves show their thanks, action and consideration.  Amateur Radio emergency services, educational stories, space stories and ham technology – all of these topics could be winners.  If a reporter covered your activity well, nominate them!  

Audio format: 

Submit CD with audio file(s) in mp3 format with name of candidate written on each disk.


Visual format:

Submit CD with mp4 file or DVD of the work with name of candidate written on each disk.


Print article:

Submit clear, easily readable copy of printed text, any related Web addresses, and 8.5x11 sheets displaying the writing in situ as it appeared to the public. (Photocopies are fine)



Entry forms, supporting disks and documentation must be received by

5pm on December 9, 2012.


Mail the packets to:

Manager of Media Relations

American Radio Relay League

225 Main Street

Newington, CT 06111


Each of the award winners will receive a plaque and a donation in their name of $250 will go to a recognized non-profit organization of the recipient’s choosing.


For more information about the award, full rules and to obtain a nomination form, go to

Or contact ARRL's Media & Public Relations Department, mailto:newsmedia@arrl.org860-594-0328.






As this issue was being written, Hurricane Sandy hit the east coast.  Irrespective of what she did, it still provides an excellent opportunity for PR work and sharing how Amateur Radio can serve communities by providing communications and information even when other systems are NOT failing.  The Hurricane Watch Nets are an excellent example.  They provide real time, ground level information from the Caribbean all the way through the Maritimes. 


Lloyd Colston found an interesting tidbit. There was a SET drill in 1997 about Hurricane Sandy that is eerily close to the real thing 15 years later.


Here are some of the hits I know about already:


Amateur radio operators help others weather the storm

Ham radio operators on standby for Hurricane Sandy


Hurricane Sandy Notebook: A view from around the Poconos
Pocono Record

Members of Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service lend a hand in Herkimer ...


Ham radio in use at emergency shelter at Cheltenham High
Philadelphia Inquirer

Sandy races ashore; NYC storm surge builds tonight
Minnesota Public Radio

Hurricane Sandy: 5pm Update


The biggest problem we face here at HQ is the lack of reports coming in from the field.  It is very hard to support, promote and serve hams when we are not informed of what is going on out there.   A simple email summary sent in to HQ – a couple lines a day telling us what you are doing in the aftermath and who you are serving – can make all the difference. 


We have written about this many times before.  We need to have current information about deployments.  Without it, you have no one but yourselves to blame for a lack of attention by the news.  Having a specific person in your group tasked to sharing information is the only way to go. 



How to report on a marathon


Hams do a lot of work for marathons, bike-a-thons, parades and other community activities.  One of the biggest is the Chicago Marathon.  Here is the text of their news release.  It is  a very good example of a write up and you can use it as an example of how to write up your own PR about your local events.


October 7, 2012

Amateur Radio Supports 2012 Bank of America Chicago Marathon


More than 37,000 runners took to the streets of Chicago on Sunday, October 7 for the 35th running of the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, which featured participants from over 100 countries and all 50 states. They were supported by 12,000 volunteers, including 112 volunteer amateur radio operators who provided communication support for the field medical teams and medical transport functions.


Ham radio operators worked alongside medical personnel at Aid Stations along the course to provide information about emergency dispatch, medical logistics and the Event Alert System. Hams collected essential medical metric information about the number of people being treated at Aid Stations along the course to provide event organizers better tools for managing the medical care for the runners. 


Amateur radio, often called ham radio, is both a hobby and a service in which participants, called "hams," use radios to communicate with other radio amateurs for public service, recreation and self-training. Public service has always been a large part of being a radio amateur. All operators must be tested and licensed by the federal government and use two-way radios on special frequencies set aside exclusively for amateur use.  These radio amateurs follow strict codes of conduct and form a closely knit community dedicated to service.  


Ham radio is not only a hobby it’s also an avocation for many. When disaster strikes, ham operators jump into service to provide emergency communications where needed. This has been evident in many of the larger scaled disasters, such as forest fires, that hit the western United States this summer.


Hams also support public events such as the Bank of America Chicago Marathon. In fact, every major marathon in the U.S. uses ham radio volunteers as a part of their communication plan.


In order to provide timely aid and medical support for all participants at the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, medical tents were located at approximately 1.5-mile intervals along the 26.2-mile route. Each tent had a physician, multiple nurses, and other medical staff present. Ambulance service was also available. Participants could obtain immediate aid in these tents or could be transported by ambulance to the Chicago Marathon's main medical facility in Grant Park, or to a local hospital.


Ham radio operators provided the Bank of America Chicago Marathon medical team with a critical channel of communication. Volunteer radio operators were seated immediately adjacent to ambulance dispatchers in Grant Park and were paired with the medical staff in the 21 aid stations along the course. Hams communicated requests and status reports using up to seven different radio networks to ensure complete course coverage and redundancy in case of communication equipment problems. They also helped report on the status of runners who dropped out of the event and required transportation back to the finish area in Grant Park.


For more information contact:

Rob Orr




How Many?


The numbers vary weekly, but in general there are now about 450 formally appointed ARRL PIOs (appointed by their Section Managers) in the country. 


There are about 180 graduates of the PR-101 course.


There are 500+ members of the PR email reflector, including PIOs, volunteers and several media contacts that we have courted over the years (which is why we need to keep it on PR topics!).


It is hard to say how many more volunteers are out there.  Many clubs have their own PIOs or people that act in that capacity and then there are people who just do it for the love of it.



Got a local hero?


There are times when someone does an action that gets into “service beyond sanity.”  Perhaps they saved a life or provided some impossible aid in a meaningful activity.  Often these things are known locally, but will never rise to national levels.  As the PR voices for Amateur Radio, we need to be aware of local ways to say “thank you” and also set up media-worthy events. 


The ARRL custom awards program lets the SM order a custom plaque to be presented to such exceptional local people.  But note that only the Section Managers can order it – so if you have such a person or event, be sure to talk to your SM about it.



The Last Word  (sorta)


First of all, thank you to all the people who wrote me nice things on the announcement of my retirement.  As you can see, I am presently coming into the office at rare times to hold the fort until they hire a replacement person.  That search is currently going on and you can see it and the forms at  .  If you are interested, check it out!


Allen   w1agp