Register Account

Login Help

March 2009

New Logo

Finally we got a new logo for CONTACT! I had been wanting one for a long time, but with all the other things going on, it just never made it to the top of the pile of priorities. But a mention of the desire to Sue Fagan of the graphics staff here (This is the neat lady who creates a LOT of the really wonderful graphics you see) resulted in a sleek, modern header for ARRL PR. Thanks Sue !!

World Amateur Radio Day is coming – April 18, 2009

Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS, IARU International Coordinator, writes...

Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and Emergency Communication

Each year on 18 April, radio amateurs celebrate World Amateur Radio Day. On that day in 1925 the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) was founded. In 2009, the theme of the event is Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and Emergency Communication.

It is not by coincidence that last year’s meeting of the IARU Administrative Council chose this subject at this time. While the Amateur Radio Service has traditionally made its contributions to emergency and disaster response ever since its very beginnings almost 100 years ago, this role has gained a lot of importance just in the recent past. It has done so mainly for two reasons:

* The number and dimension of natural as well as man-made disasters is unfortunately on the increase, and

* The modern communication technologies are increasingly complex, infrastructure-dependent and therefore also increasingly vulnerable.

The Amateur Radio Services puts two equally valuable assets at its disposal for emergency and disaster prevention, preparedness and response:

* A large number of very flexible and mostly infrastructure-independent, local, national, regional and global networks, and

* A large number of skilled operators, who know how to communicate with often very limited means and to establish communications even under the most difficult circumstances.

The tools at their disposal range from the most robust means such as battery-operated stations operating in Morse code to links through amateur radio satellites and interconnectivity with the Internet, in voice, text, image and data modes. They range from local VHF networks of fixed, mobile and portable stations to shortwave networks that span the globe. All these networks are operated on a daily basis by men and women who are thoroughly familiar with their technology and their intricacies.

Telecommunications have become a commodity that society takes for granted, and the sudden loss of that service is often felt in a similar way to the loss of shelter, food and medical support. When disasters occur in regions that do not have good coverage by public networks, or when existing communications infrastructures have just been disrupted or destroyed by such events, the Amateur Radio Service comes to the rescue. Amateur Radio operators provide communications for the rescuers and relief workers and their organizations and they help to provide communications for those affected by a disaster.

In fact, contributions to emergency and disaster relief are a major argument for the preservation and the extension of the privileges the Amateur Radio Service enjoys in international and national regulations. This is one of the reasons why more and more Amateur Radio operators, through their clubs and their national societies, prepare very seriously for their role in emergencies. However, their skills can be put to use only if they are known by other first responders. Effective response to emergencies can only occur with the work of volunteers in all the various fields; from search and rescue to medical assistance and those who can provide food and shelter. Communication skills are a new, but equally vital commodity.

Activities on the occasion of World Amateur Radio Day 2009 can be a great opportunity to spread the word about what the “hams” are doing.

A Field Day Experiment

Hams like to experiment with new technologies, but in PR we often seem stuck on the old “tried and true” annual press release. In fact, far too many groups only make one media contact (Field Day) and ignore the importance of PR the rest of the year.

So, let’s try an experiment with modern communications technology this year! With help from members of the Public Relations Committee, a special 30 second computer video has been created for Field Day. It highlights action, modern technology and guides non-hams to go to the Field Day site locator page at . (Be sure your FD group is listed on the locator map!)

It is not for TV – as a .wmv file it is meant for computers, websites, email, Yahoo, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and all the other “viral” outlets we can find.

We have many Internet gurus among our PIOs and clubs. Start thinking now how you can spread this 3 Meg wmv file as far and fast as possible. (Yes, it really looks good!)

To prevent it from “peaking” too soon, we will not release it until April. But once we do – we fire all possible guns at once. Let’s see what happens. Start thinking up creative placements now. ( Ask your kids to help :-) )

Cell Phone Bans – know the arguments

While the ARRL Executive Committee has issued a policy statement regarding the recent surge of cell phone restrictions while driving, it is always good to know the arguments being used by potential opponents and be prepared to address them. As hams look to exempt Amateur Radio from broad-brush legislation, PIOs are encouraged to be familiar with the ARRL statement.

Successful Fair Displays – more than brochures

Having a display at a local fair is not very unusual. Many clubs do this, but the numbers seem to be diminishing as people have less and less free time to put into such projects. Still, the payoff in recognition and recruitment can be considerable. If you live in an area with regional or country fairs, it is something your group should consider. Here’s an example of how one group turned such a project into a major win for Amateur Radio.

Amateur Radio at the South Florida Fair!
by Jeff Beals, WA4AW & David Fowler, K4DLF

With attendance of over ½ million, the fair is an excellent opportunity for the public to see and learn about amateur radio in action.

This year, the amateur radio exhibit at the fair had over 500 square feet of space. We demonstrated HF and VHF/UHF radio, APRS, Satellite, Amateur TV (ATV), digital modes (RTTY and PSK31), and CW. The ARRL’s “Amateur Radio Today”, “Hello-Radio”, and “At Any Moment” videos were shown continuously over the fair’s 17 days in January.

In 1980, Emanuel (Manny) Papandreas, W4SS/SK, formed the Palm Beach Amateur Radio Council. Manny, a long time Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC), formed the Council to help organize and coordinate the many public service events sponsored by a number of amateur radio clubs in Palm Beach County, Florida. Since then, the Council has promoted amateur radio at the fair every January. Today, the Council consists of 10 local clubs and organizations.

This year, a digital television (DTV) transition display drew attention as people wanted to know about the upcoming conversion. In addition, the West Palm Beach Amateur Radio Club held an evening presentation about the DTV conversion. Also, one of the most popular attractions for kids of all ages was the Amateur TV (ATV) demonstration. People would move back and forth in front of the TV looking for the small ATV camera and transmitter. In addition to ATV, computer displays included APRS maps and a display showing upcoming amateur satellite passes.


Names and contact information for almost 100 very interested individuals were collected. The Council, working with several member clubs, will follow them up with free classes to accommodate these people and help them into the hobby.

Thanks go to the following hams who each put in over 80 hours at the South Florida Fair this year: Jeff Beals, WA4AW; Hugh Connolly, AG4HC; Louise Connolly, KI4LNN; David Fowler, K4DLF; Peter Harding, KA2TPK; Myra Kitchen, K3PGH; Betty Peace, KE4BFC; Walter Peace, WD4IUD.

Billboards Promoting Amateur Radio


Warren R. Appel, KE7NPF, the Casper Amateur Radio Club Secretary and Public Information Officer in Casper, WY, has been busy in another promotional activity. He secured a billboard to promote his group and Amateur Radio.

Many companies that rent out billboard would much rather have them being used (even for free) than left blank and vacant. If you see a blank billboard in your area, you may want to make note of any phone number of contact information on it, call them and see what can be done.

Skywarn Logo Restrictions and You

NOAA, the parent of NWS and the Skywarn® program just put up a webpage (on Feb 9) about the use of the name Skywarn® and their logo. Note that the logo is a TRADEMARK and, like the ARRL and ARES logos, has some restrictions. You can see their info at this link.

Here are some of their key points, but see the full text using the hyperlink above. Please keep this in mind as you do presentations, demos and other events.

2) Skywarn® and the American Radio Relay League
The American Radio Relay League (ARRL) is a noncommercial membership organization of radio amateurs, organized for the promotion of interest in Amateur Radio. The National Weather Service works with ARRL Section Amateur Radio Emergency Service volunteers at the local level to establish Skywarn® radio networks, and/or other specialized weather emergency alert and relief systems. These local Skywarn® radio organizations act as communicators and spotters when severe weather and other disasters strike. The working partnership between NWS and ARRL is formally documented through a Memorandum of Understanding. NWS Warning Coordination Meteorologists are responsible for maintaining this working partnership with the local ARRL Skywarn® volunteers.

3) Skywarn® Recognition Day and the American Radio Relay League
Skywarn® Recognition Day was developed in 1999 by the NWS and ARRL. Itcelebrates the contributions that volunteer Skywarn® radio operators make to our nation’s severe weather warning system. During the day Skywarn® operators visit NWS offices and contact other radio operators across the world.

4) The Skywarn® Service Marks
The Skywarn® program is nationally known through its two primary service marks (hereinafter the ‘marks’) which are the word mark
SKYWARN®, and the logo, which depicts a tornado within an orange, eye-shaped design, shown above. The term “Skywarn” may or may not appear within the lower portion of the logo. NOAA has filed federal service mark applications to protect its exclusive rights in these marks with the United States Patent and Trademark Office. These marks represent the cumulative goodwill earned through the valiant and dedicated efforts of Skywarn® volunteer spotters since the late 1960s.

5) Use of the Skywarn® Service Marks by Third Parties
NOAA/NWS retain the exclusive right to determine how and where these valuable Skywarn® marks are used, and reserves the right to control the quality of their use. All use of the marks shall inure to the sole and exclusive benefit of NOAA/NWS. Generally, permission is granted for the use of these marks, without further written agreement, when used in direct connection with, or in direct support of, the volunteer Skywarn® programs in each of the NOAA/NWS’ Forecast offices.

NOAA requests that any prominent use of the term Skywarn®, or the Skywarn® logo, be accompanied by the ® symbol to the upper right of the mark, along with a notice at the bottom of the page, reading as follows:

“Skywarn® and the Skywarn® logos are registered trademarks of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, used with permission.”

Each WCM is granted the authority to determine the appropriate usage of the marks by Local Volunteer Organizations in connection with each respective program, subject to reasonable oversight from the NOAA/NWS chain of command.

Opportunity Knocking – Severe Weather Awareness Week

Kevin Pauley, KB9WVI, writes:
Although nine states have already participated in Severe Weather Awareness Week activities in February (Arkansas Colorado Florida Georgia Mississippi Louisiana Oklahoma Tennessee and Texas), others will be holding their sessions in March (Illinois Indiana Iowa Kansas Kentucky Michigan Missouri New Mexico North and South Carolina and Ohio) and still others will have activities later or hold multiple awareness outreach campaigns throughout the spring.

The Bloomington Amateur Radio Club, Inc. of Bloomington, Indiana has created an outreach effort that is entering its sixth year by piggybacking on the National Weather Services program centering around commercial radio interviews on local stations. Along with discussions of NOAA alert radios, the role of volunteer storm spotters and how amateur radio lends itself so well to reporting severe weather observations; participants explain their participation in the state wide tornado drill, eye witness verification of the operational status of the county’s 28 outdoor warning sirens, and invite the public to the annual storm spotter training session scheduled as close to the weeks activities as possible.

The project lends itself well to publicity as the media will be coordinating with local governments to promote Severe Weather Preparedness Week. The amateur radio community's participation story will fit in nicely adding the “here at home angle” in local newspapers and in internet based communications. Throw in a proclamation from the local Mayors office and you have all the ingredients for an excellent PR campaign based on Severe Weather Preparedness Week in your city. See the Severe Weather Events Calendar at for schedules.

See Newspaper Headlines from Almost Anywhere

Mike Floyd, W1HAT, writes in...


One of the most interesting sites I have ever seen. Just put your mouse on a city anywhere in the world and the newspaper headlines pop up... Double click and the page gets larger...Then you can either read the pdf version or click through to the paper itself in the upper right corner...

Also, if you look at the European papers, the far left side of Germany will pop up as The Stars & Stripes (European edition, of course). AND, this site changes everyday with the publication of new editions of the paper. Hope you enjoy this.

Don’t forget this opportunity

Preston Sewell, KC2AMS, writes in...

The Military Vehicle Preservation Association (MVPA) is conducting a reenactment of the 1919 Transcontinental Military Convoy during June of this year. The convoy will be composed of privately owned Historical Military Vehicles (HMV) operated by volunteer members of our organization. Our route will follow that of the original Transcontinental Military Convoy as closely as possible. We will utilize U.S. Highway 30, the Lincoln Highway, for the most part as we retrace the steps of that early convoy.

I have volunteered to act as the Communications Coordinator for the convoy. To this end I am contacting the ARRL Section Managers to solicit the participation of their personnel in providing communications support for this historical effort as we pass through your areas. More info is at

If you are on their planned route, it could be a good promotion!

The Last Word

Things you don’t see.

Most of the time we are promoting Amateur Radio – all of it. This is intentional and is a fundamental shift from what you might think. Most organizational PIOs are directed to represent and promote their organization itself. But long ago, Hiram P. Maxim, founder of the ARRL, made a policy very clear that the job of the ARRL was to go far beyond self-promotion. We were to promote Amateur Radio - all of it! Hiram had seen many self-promoting organizations come and go and reasoned that if the ARRL promoted all of ham radio that everything else would fall into place too. 100 years later he seems to have been right! But every now and then it’s good to “toot your own horn” a little.

This issue started with World Amateur Radio Day and the IARU – in which the ARRL is a major player and through which it represents American ham radio to the world. You rarely see that work being done, but it is considerable as world developments increase threats to Amateur frequencies and actions.

Field Day is obviously another ARRL activity, and the staff here at HQ has been busy for months getting things ready for your enjoyment of that one weekend. It doesn’t “just happen.” It takes serious time, neurological investment and passion to make it all come together.

You cannot see the intensive work being done as the ARRL prepares to move to a totally new website – all 47,000+ pages of it! Every department and activity area is involved in writing and editing better ways for members to receive services and information, but nothing shows up outside of the curtains – yet.

You also don’t see the hard work of the Executive Committee, but reap their benefits in things like the cell phone document. Already it has been a catalyst for changes in the bills of several states and more are to come. The careful wording and integration of both the legal and Amateur worlds does not happen by accident.

Your membership is not just a “subscription” to QST. Folks who have that perspective on the ARRL miss the boat. It is your entry to a whole smorgasbord of services, activities. Here’s some:

These are not just programs; they are all people working hard to make Amateur Radio - all of it - better. I see them almost every day. They are good folks.



Instragram     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     LinkedIn