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June 2009


Field Day

Field Day Videos

Left Click here to see the MAIN 2009 Field Day video announcement
Right click and choose “save as” to download it to your computer

To see the ANIMATED 2009 logo video, left click here
Right click and choose “save as” to download it and save on your computer

Field Day press kit materials
Don’t forget that there is a wealth of PIO information and materials for Field Day posted to the web at 2009 Field Day Press Kit .

Where are you ???

What’s the point of holding Field Day outside if no one can find you or knows where you are! Be sure your group and location are listed on the Field Day locator page. Don’t “assume” that someone else has done it – check it for yourself to be sure your group is listed there.

Modifying a PSA – Carefully!

In general I do not encourage adding a local club or groups contact information to our PSAs because you cannot control where the PSA may be shown. In the past, clubs did this, but if the PSA was seen in another club’s “territory” there often rose bad feelings between groups thinking they were stealing possible members, etc. It caused some real troubles! We found it far better to point people to the ARRL websites which, in turn, bring them to our Find a club page. If your group is listed there and keeps its contact information current, they will find you.

But there are exceptions to everything.

Cory Sickles wrote me:

I produce commercials for area businesses. I might be able to get it placed on local cable (Comcast) in our county and would like to know if it would be OK to add contact information (telephone and URL) for the Gloucester County ARC in the letterbox areas outside of "active video". I've been toying with the idea of making one of our own, but haven't had enough free time. Yours has a high production value and just adding titles would do what I want - to generate interest. If that's permissible, I'll send you an approval copy for your review before it would go out.

TNX & 73,
Cory Sickles, WA3UVV

Cory had checked with Comcast to see just where their “Spotlight” piece might be viewed by the public. The club also double checked for any potential “poaching” problems with other groups in the area. When everything was found to be OK, they took up a donation (approx. $350) and ran with the advertisement.
You can view it at


The first course for PIOs is complete and ready to go! Unveiled at Dayton, PR-101 is available on the ARRL Web site for a cost of $19.95. Topics include:

1. Introduction & Index
Goals of this course

2. What is PR
PR and non profits
In Group vs. Public

3. Job Expectations
ARES Clubs and PIOs
Resources available to you

4. Types of Media
Their unique needs

5. Building Relationships
One sheet self promotions

6. Media, Hams and FCC Rules

7. The Basic News Release
When to write one
There are 6 W’s
Fact Sheets
What about photos?
The call to action
The Formatting
“Ham Speak”
Check list pre-sending

8. Interviews and Live
Appearance and dress
Radio Interviews
Talks and Presentations

9. Making your own show
Cable TV
PSA & Video

10. Easy P.R.
Letters to the Editor

11. Public Service Events

12. Piggy-back to National Events

13. Pictures NOW!
How to
Send to

14. P.R. Research Aids

15. Making Friends
In disagreements
“The loyal opposition”

The PIO in emergency situations

17. Final Exam Information

The course material for study, including audio and video clips, is on a CD. This allows you to study at your own pace and keep the materials handy for reference. Once you are ready, it takes you to the web for the final exam. Enter your unique disk code and upon successful passing of the exam it allows you to download and print out your certificate of completion. It also sends your name and call to the PR offices in Newington to be added to the list of graduates.

The need for the course was documented in the December 2008 Zoomerang Survey of PIOs when we asked how much training and experience they had in PR.

While the ARRL makes dozens of materials available for PIOs at no cost, or for only the cost of the postage, we realized that we could not do that with this course. As a non-profit, we knew we had to find a way to cover the costs involved in production, duplication, distribution, record keeping and the special testing site ( fees. In the December 2008 survey, we asked PIOs about this and what they thought was a reasonable and fair cost for tuition.

The majority of responses showed that the PIOs not only wanted the course, but were willing to pay far more than the $19.95 which was chosen.

As you will see, there is a wealth of information in the course shared by highly experienced people while keeping it to a “101” level that all PIOs can use.

Answering basic reporter questions at Field Day

Be prepared to answer these basic questions posed over and over by reporters!

"Whatever happened to Amateur Radio?”

Amateur Radio has been “successfully dying off” for over 70 years! Despite decades of media proclamations claiming ham radio was dying, it's still doing fine and the most fun you can have with a radio. It’s also a very vital part of emergency communications planning.

There are now over 650,000 “hams” in the USA. But also note that 100,000 of today’s hams got their first FCC Amateur Radio license in just the last 4 years! Far from dying out, older hams are being replaced by new people learning about wireless technologies and communications.

Ham radio is also a very important communications system and integrated into FEMA and DHS planning. When cell phones don't work, regular phones don't work, the internet doesn't work, ham radio still works. Ham radio is a “hobby” – that’s the fun part that gets most people interested and keeps them on the air. But it's also a “service” -a vital service that has saved lives again and again when regular communication systems failed. During 9-11 and again when hurricanes like Katrina, Rita and Wilma or tornadoes or floods knocked out other communications, ham radio volunteers continue to provide vital life-and-death capabilities. But 99% of the time, hams do what they do because it's just plain fun.

Amateur Radio operators come from all walks of life -- movie stars, missionaries, doctors, students, politicians, truck drivers and just plain folks. They are all ages, sexes and income levels linked by their interest in wireless communications technologies. Two of the largest groups receiving their licenses in recent years have been

People soon to retire who wanted to become a ham for years, but family and career responsibilities were in the way. Now they can finally do it.

People in their teens to early 20’s who are attracted to the emergency side of Amateur Radio and want to be able to help others in a crisis.

What's the Appeal of Ham Radio?

Like car collectors, some like Model T’s and some like Ferrari’s. There are all kinds of people and types of radios in Amateur Radio. Some hams are attracted by the ability to communicate across the country, around the globe, even with astronauts on space missions. Others build and experiment with electronics. Computer hobbyists enjoy experimenting in wireless digital communications. Those with a competitive streak enjoy "DX contests," where the object is to see how many stations in distant locations they can contact. Some like the convenience of a technology that gives them portable communication. Others use it to open the door to new friendships over the air or through participation in one of more than 2000 Amateur Radio clubs throughout the country.

But what about Cell Phones and the Internet?
Hams do not fear new technologies – they have always taken and adapted them in new and creative ways. Hams were using mobile phones before the words “cell phone” were even known to the public. Hams also are developing extensive hybrid communications systems such as Echolink and D-Star which blend radio and Internet seamlessly.

A Bright Future
Amateur Radio today has come a long way from its beginnings. It’s not your Grandfather’s radio anymore. Hams have their own satellites, chat with the space station, bounce signals off the moon and are at the cutting edge of many technologies. Computers, digital systems, slow scan television, cross-band repeaters and concepts undreamed of just a few years ago are common in the ham community. While skill in Morse code is no longer required by the FCC to get a license, many hams still enjoy and use this older mode. But even if the Morse code key may still be on the desk, it is probably next to a modern, transistorized system capable of operating under the most extreme conditions.

What is the ARRL?
ARRL is the American Radio Relay League – the national association for Amateur Radio in the USA. ARRL is the voice for Amateur Radio in regulatory, legislative and international matters. As part of the International Amateur Radio Union, ARRL represents American ham radio interests.

Want more?
Go to or to

FLU and PIOs

While the current H1N1 outbreak seems to have settled down a bit, this is still a good time to go over the basic role of PIOs in a pandemic situation. I found a free, web-based and excellent tutorial done for North Carolina. It will take about 15 minutes or so, but has all the key elements in there while omitting things that would be local specifics and variables.

I strongly encourage all PIOs to log in (They will ask for your email address and you make up a password). It is free. While there are more sections to their trainings, it is Unit #9 that I am encouraging.

Interesting Demographics

Kristin Tomson, K7KWT, did some research cross referencing ham against general population totals and developed an interesting ranked list of states. Much of this we more or less “knew” before, but didn’t have new data to back up our impressions. Here’s her stats


Total State
Per Capita
Population /
#of hams


3353 42 1 204


11438 21 2 231


26987 6 3 240


14609 16 4 257

New Hampshire

4961 38 5 265

West Virginia

6505 32 6 279


5238 37 7 286


2127 45 8 292


3214 43 9 298


4359 40 10 302


1642 48 11 318

New Mexico

6154 34 12 320


13020 18 13 373


9447 26 14 383


7337 29 15 386


16123 12 16 393


92708 1 17 394


6927 31 18 401


15318 14 19 402


27884 4 20 411


3120 44 21 411


11044 23 22 419


14726 15 23 431

North Dakota

1431 50 24 447


17244 11 25 447


12935 19 26 454


11164 22 27 466


5507 36 28 466

South Dakota

1695 47 29 470


38174 3 30 478


7325 30 31 478


3697 41 32 480


8820 27 33 481


20623 8 34 488

North Carolina

18311 10 35 495


5977 35 36 500


12799 20 37 504


10873 24 38 515

Rhode Island

2017 46 39 524


45510 2 40 525


23249 7 41 535


10452 25 42 538

South Carolina

7774 28 43 567


1512 49 44 572


4810 39 45 607


15339 13 46 622


20466 9 47 628

New Jersey

13597 17 48 639


6243 33 49 688

New York

27508 5 50 702

District of Columbia

401 51 51 1,467

Thanks Kristin!

National Preparedness Month

If you remember last year, so many Amateur Radio groups signed up that we really got notice by DHS staff. Let’s do it again!

September is National Preparedness Month (NPM) and 436 organizations have already registered as Coalition Members! If you have not yet signed up to be a 2009 Coalition Member, visit to register. Becoming a Coalition Member means you pledge to promote emergency preparedness during the month of September. This can be done either by providing information, hosting events and/or sponsoring activities for your customers, members, employees, stakeholders, and communities. Please remember, even if you were a Coalition Member last year, you still need to re-register this year if you intend to participate.

National Preparedness Month Coalition membership is open to all public and private sector organizations for free. Once you register you will receive access to the NPM Web site where you can find a toolkit full of templates, resources, and tips to assist you with promoting emergency preparedness.

As we mentioned during the Webinar, Ready brochures are limited. So, for those of you who are interested in obtaining more than the maximum order quantity of brochures, we encourage you to use our two-page printer-friendly versions that may be printed out and duplicated as needed. You can download these at . These two-page versions are perfect for distributing to your employees, colleagues, members, or stakeholders to help spread the preparedness message.

We are looking forward to a successful NPM this year! As always, if you have any questions or need assistance, please write us at .

Thank you,
The Ready Campaign

PIO help needed for legislative action

One of the biggest challenges that amateurs face is antenna restrictions - those implemented by local governments and those originating from deed restrictions and building development covenants. As you may know, the FCC’s PRB-1 limited preemption order offers amateurs some relief when facing zoning and building restrictions. However, PRB-1 does not extend to include covenants, conditions and restrictions (known as CC&Rs). These deed and property use restrictions strongly and negatively affect the ability of Amateur Radio service licensees to perform valuable emergency and disaster communications. Finding a method to extend the PRB-1 protections is a key component of the ARRL Legislative Action Program.

Recently Congresswoman Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) introduced House Bill H.R.2160 - the "Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009". If enacted into law, H.R.2160 would instruct the Secretary of Homeland Security to undertake a study and report its findings to Congress within 180 days. The study would spell out uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio communications in emergencies and disaster relief.

Please see the information and directions and limitations on what can be done at the ARRL Web site.

The Last Word

I wanted to talk about the implications of the trust held both among and for hams, but if you want to get totally confused go to and look at their definition for “Web of Trust.” If ever we thought hams lapsed into techno-babble… this one takes the cake!

But we have another “web of trust” that has developed over many years. While not often directly discussed, it shows up in many ways. John Nelson, K0IO, noted that on April 26, during CBS prime time, Des Moines TV Station KCCI continuously scrolled across the bottom of the screen "Water is across Hwy 14 north of Marshalltown as reported by Amateur Radio."

OK, so it was raining hard and that may not seem to be a critical, national story. But the point is they reported it even though they did not check it out for themselves. They believed the hams.

Flashback to Katrina. Thousands of dollars worth of supplies, boats, aircraft and people all moved on the reports of hams. They believed us.

The trust placed in Amateur Radio’s people providing accurate and timely reports is significant. Even though some media still wants to see us as ancient, those same folks see us as truthful. If I were forced to choose between the two, I would go with truthful any day! That may be why most good operators get upset when they hear bad behaviors on the air. It not only fouls up the frequencies, it fouls our image that has been earned by good operators over decades.

We’re all human and we all can make mistakes. But our image (and dare I say it – “honor”) is an incredibly valuable resource.

Flashback again to the BPL interference issue. Very powerful and well-funded people were telling the world that hams were full of themselves, didn’t know what they were talking about and just a bunch of old, anti-progress curmudgeons. Even the government leaders seemed to be against us (which it turns out was correct – they were!). But the non-BPL paid media kept putting little paragraphs in almost every story on BPL saying the hams were not so sure of these “facts” and claimed something different. They knew we were truthful – that something was not right as touted by Mr. Shark and the BPL promoters. That trust in Amateur Radio veracity did not come from my spending thousands of dollars in a PR campaign. It came from years of people like you doing the right thing and maintaining the accuracy, perspective and truthfulness that befits a good operator.

Storm season is coming up again. Lives and property will depend on truthful, accurate information. The requirement for truth and accuracy is not on any question in the FCC’s exams for licensure. Maybe it should be.


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