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February 2010


Vol 8, No 2
February 2010


ARES® gets official, standardized look

A long-standing public relations concern has been the lack of a unified, “branded” appearance of ARES® volunteers in public service or emergency activities. While the American Red Cross and many other organizations have adopted recognizable, national standards of appearance, Amateur Radio chronically suffered from a wide variety of apparel --some of which was very poor indeed. Without an easily recognizable, standard “look,” the services of amateurs are easily overlooked by the public, media and civic leaders. There was a need for a standardized and consistent appearance by ARES volunteers which is easily identified, quickly spotted in a crowd, recognizable on TV and in photos, and adopted on a national scale.

A continuing plethora of Amateur Radio garb seen by the public wordlessly made us appear to be amateurs in the worst sense of the word, undisciplined, fractioned and uncoordinated.

A proposal for the ARRL to adopt a set of standards for ARES wear, which are to be worn when deployed in public service events or emergencies, was unanimously passed by the Programs and Services Committee of the ARRL in January 2010. It includes standards for a mesh vest (hot climate use), standard vests and jackets. The standards can be met by many emergency clothing manufacturers and suppliers.

Adoption of these standards as THE ARES uniform clothing is a major positive step in ARRL/ARES public relations. Here’s the specifics:

ARES members, while activated, deployed, in community service activities or otherwise on duty shall wear over their normal apparel, at minimum, a florescent green ANSI Class 2 reflective, 100% polyester vest.

The vest shall be decorated in the following manner:

On the Front On the Back

On the Left Chest, the ARES logo, minimum 3.5 inch diameter, black in color, negative background.

The Right Chest shall remain blank so as to allow wearer to affix their ARES or ARRL name badge.

Vests may have zip or Velcro type front closures. Members may choose vests with or without pockets, at their own discretion. Other apparel, such as short and long sleeve tee shirts, jackets and coats are approved for member use as long as the garments meet the same color, ANSI Class 2, lettering and decoration standard. A waiver of this standard may be given by an SEC for specific purposes with good cause. We know that many people already have some form of special clothing they purchased. As these are worn out they should be replaced with clothing meeting the new standards.

In minimum 2” lettering, Arial Black font, black in color, imprinted above the horizontal reflective tape:


Those in a leadership position may add their title (SEC, DIRECTOR, EC, PIO, etc) below the words “Emergency Communications” in not less than 3" tall font, black. (Under the lower reflective stripe)

Local jurisdictions may elect to add their organization name above the words “Amateur Radio” with no larger than 1" Arial Black lettering, color black.

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Leonard Award Winners

The restructuring of the Leonard Award resulted in winners in all three new categories. The movement away from traditional media outlets to newer ones means the new Leonard Award structure allows for greater opportunities to recognize deserving coverage across multiple media outlets. After reviewing the 2009 submissions, the PRC members recommended recipients in each category and these were approved by the Board:

PRINT/TEXT –Vicky Taylor of Public Opinion, a daily newspaper in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania. Ms. Taylor covered the licensing of 8-year old Victoria Latham, KB3SSM, and 7-year old sister Veronica Latham, KB3SSN. It was written as a heartwarming story of how the two young ladies convinced their father Shannon Latham, W3SML, and mother, Rachel Latham, KB3RNP, they were ready to take license exams. The end of the story focuses on the girls representing the fourth generation of Amateur Radio operators.

AUDIO – The winner for a second time is Ted Randall, WB8PUM, and his weekly QSO Show which is heard on shortwave and as a podcast. Not only did the committee recognize Ted’s consistently high quality treatment of issues within Amateur Radio week-after-week, but his devotion to make each broadcast available on demand as a podcast. His previous Leonard Award recognized only his radio broadcasts, while the new Leonard Award structure examined his contributions not only over the air but especially on the internet.

VIDEO – The live remote broadcast of Field Day 2009 of the Raytown, Missouri Amateur Radio Club on WDAF-TV, Fox 4, Kansas City by reporter Kim Byrnes who embedded herself for WDAF’s Sunday morning news magazine in the Raytown club’s FD operations. Through several live inserts in the morning news program, she covered diverse aspects of Amateur Radio, specifically highlighting Ham Radio as a hobby, as an emergency communications source, as radio sport and contesting, and chronicling the evolution of two-way radio technology. Ms. Byrnes even took a turn as a guest operator. Two YouTube clips are viewable: The first one is a 9 minute sequence of the live remote reports: The second is a short 2+ min. condensation of them:

The 3rd ZL3 Radio Buildathon

David Sumner, K1ZZ, passed this along as an example of what one club is doing in Christchurch, New Zealand. It’s a great idea and had really good results.

A summary report of the event and many photographs can be viewed here:

Best Regards,

David W Searle – ZL3DWS

ZL3 Buildathon Coordinator

ZL3 Radio Buildathon Project

A Model to Lift the Profile of Amateur Radio & Attract New Amateurs.

A Paper from NZART prepared by David Searle, ZL3DWS.


In November 2008 and again in April 2009 “ZL3 Radio Buildathon” events were held in Christchurch, New Zealand. This involved radio amateurs assisting people, who had no prior experience in electronic construction, to build working radio units.

The objectives for the events were:

· to bring members of the local radio clubs together in a joint project;

· to build small electronic projects in a self-help setting;

· to encourage participation by the general public, and

· to increase the profile of Amateur Radio.

Each Buildathon event was held in a local school hall on a Saturday morning.

Similar events have been held regularly in the USA, and more recently in Bath, UK. The local events were modeled on those organised by the Bath, UK, coordinator, Steve Hartley, G0FUW.

The first event attracted 27 participants, mainly local radio amateurs, their family, and friends. The project was to build TRF SW receivers designed by the doyen of modern day TRF’s, Charles Kitchin N1TEV. The kits of parts were assembled in Christchurch.

The second event attracted 52 participants with many more participants from the general public. The youngest participant was just 10 years old, with the oldest being an 81 year old gentleman from Australia. Family involvement was very evident, including parents, brothers and sisters. The kit used this time was an MK484 broadcast radio imported from Australia.

Past Buildathon events have largely served those already involved or already interested in amateur radio or electronics. The objective of the local effort was to attract members of the general public, thus generating new recruits for the amateur radio service.

Public Relations and Event Promotion.

Publicizing both events was a challenge. A steep learning curve followed on how to create news, what really interests news media outlets, and how to gain their attention. After the first event copy and photographs were sent to community newspapers, local clubs and posted on a specially generated website. Coverage was achieved in Break In, and one local newspaper, (which would later prove its worth) plus half a page (with photos) in Practical Wireless magazine (January `09) UK.

Following the second event, reports appeared in Break In (May/June `09) and Radcom (April `09) UK, and again in the local newspaper. Associating the activity with World Amateur Radio Day (April 18th) attract a reporter from a local daily newspaper. On arrival to report the activity the reporter asked “Has amateur radio been overtaken by the internet?” This was the only negative on an otherwise very constructive day.

The Break Through

The Christchurch City Council, like many councils around our world, encourages safe, secure, and supportive communities. One method of encouraging this is to offer grants for worthwhile community initiatives.

David, ZL3DWS reports: “We attended two meetings with Council representatives to present our case. After the second meeting we were telephoned to ask if we would hold Buildathons for groups of 10-13 year olds and selected youth clubs. It seemed that both representatives had seen the newspaper report before the meeting and were impressed!” A substantial grant soon followed.

Holding a Successful Buildathon?

The key objective is to bring people together, Amateurs and the general public. The project need not be complex nor represent the latest in technology. These events sought to introduce new comers to “the smell of solder” and their “first project” while meeting kindly amateurs who could help them get started. That was the objective and the reward, an experience that would last a lifetime.

To summarise: Keep it simple.

· Carefully consider the venue. A school was chosen as it was secure and familiar to all. It was also cost-effective and, in this project, the school Principal emailed to more than 100 schools suggesting they give publicity to the event in their school newsletters. Some did. Some didn’t.

· Food. Youngsters still enjoy their cool drinks and food. Healthier snacks will keep parents happy and the builder even more alert!

· Safety. Never assume that everyone knows which end of a soldering iron to pick up or what to solder and where it was placed. Or how to correctly solder. It was found that 10 year olds learn exceptionally well.

· Communicate well and often. In this way everyone is clear on what to bring and what to do on the day. An early start on a Saturday morning can a challenge even for the keenest old timers.

· After the event review feedback and inform the news media and extend thanks to all who assisted. Build a brag book and post latest photos and reports to website.

· Further information

Full reports and photographs of the events are available on the ZL3 Buildathon Project web site at

NZART is confident that the model developed can readily be adopted and adapted by other Societies; and that the lessons learned will assist in the success of similar projects.

Field Day Press Plans-

It’s still early, but not too early to plan ahead.

We may still be in the depths of winter, but Field Day planning has begun in many clubs and groups. The plans you make now will bring big changes later.

How would you like to be a hero and bring in 500 FD points for your group before you ever touch a radio?

As you plan Field Day:

Instead of heading to a mountain top, how about a WalMart lot?

Being in a conspicuous public place is good for 100 points

Instead of just telling your fellow hams and club members,

how about telling the newspapers and local radio and TV?

Press release samples are available at

Having a media release or link is good for 100 points

Instead of manning the radios, how about manning a public information

table with brochures, signs and a smile?

Having a public information table/center is good for 100 points

Instead of glad-handing the mike, how about shaking hands with

your areas elected officials and politicians?

A sample invitation is in your Field Day packet

Having invited, elected local officials come makes 100 points

Instead of talking TO a served agency, how about inviting one of their

leaders come down and visit you, perhaps even getting to

talk on your radio?

Having an official served agency representative show up is 100 points

Total = 500 points!!

Food & Field Day - The Birth of an idea

An idea came in on the morning of Feb 2 and took off. Here are some of the emails that happened in under an hour.

Dana, KA1WPM, started it by writing… One of the things that Field Day seems to be known for is the food that is served at the different locations. Why not capitalize on this.

Kevin, KB9WVI, adds…Been looking for all kinds of reasons to get press coverage at Field Day; this is a good one! It just so happens we have a community event called A Taste of Bloomington mid June each year. I will try to ride the coattails of that event and get our newspapers to talk to some of our barbecue-ers.

Bill, N2COP, continues …. I LOVE this idea! I’d put out some feelers to the national foodies like the Food Network, then invite local food editors to sponsor events at FD locations. Have the food organizers (not he clubs) use it for raising possible charity funds locally. This is a way cool idea, and great exposure for Ham Radio. You could even have a contest such as 10 QSOs needed before serving an appetizer, 10 more before Entrée #1, 100 QSOs for dessert, etc.

The Last Word

It has been an incredible month and there’s no sign of stopping. The terrible situation in Haiti and the actions of hams have resulted in many media hits. But more important (at least to me) has been the role of the ARRL in providing aid and support to hams in all sorts of response activities. ARRL’s web page and email reflectors were primary sources for information important to hams internationally. ARRL hosted conference calls with leaders of the Amateur Radio community from the USA and other countries. ARRL provided equipment through our Ham Aid program to the teams from the Radio Club Dominicano (who literally risked their lives to set up repeaters for responding agencies) and other responding organizations. This has been a very different situation and problem set than we had in Katrina, and it is far from over. I am very proud of the association I work for, and have good reason. The ARRL again has more than lived up to its reputation as being as source of real help in times of real trouble.


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