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March 2010

March 2010

Vol 8, No 3
March 2010


New Materials for Presentation to Schools

The Media & PR Department teamed up with the Education Department over the past months to take a long, hard look at materials used to present Amateur Radio to schools. We found that there were excellent materials available once contact with the school had been made, but the weak area was in the initial contact between ham and school staff or administrators. After talking to many educators, hearing their concerns and experiences, the ARRL has developed a two-pronged activity targeted at these initial contacts.

First is a short training course for anyone who wants to approach schools regarding Amateur Radio. It reviews the successful ways to make the approach, overcome initial objections, position yourself as an ally instead of an imposition, and engage your target person in positive conversation within 4 minutes. This training is really a must for the success of the overall campaign.

The second part is a specially prepared new brochure which can be left with the school after the meeting. This is not intended to be made available for just anyone who wants one, but only for people who have a specific plan to approach a school and are willing to do the short training part of the campaign. It is similar to the Hello, EmComm and Technology brochures in quality and design – in short, a real beauty.

You will be able to see it and more on the new website later this month at

Field Day Plans

First, get networking for any FD proclamations now! The earlier, the better

The ARRL Public Relations Committee is planning to hold a special nation-wide “Webinar” in April on Field Day promotions. A Webinar is where you can go to a special web page and see the computer graphics while also hearing live speakers addressing the topic. More specific information about this will be coming out soon.

Finally, even though it is early, here’s an initial 2010 Field Day press release. This one intentionally was kept to fewer than 400 words for wire and website submissions. You can take it, modify, and make it your own. There will be more later on, but this can get you started.

Field Day

Hams go radio-active June 26-27

Thousands of Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams,” will be showing off their wireless capabilities June 26-27. Erecting radio stations in community parks, campgrounds, schools and emergency centers throughout the country, they will hold a “Field Day” to show their emergency communications abilities while having fun talking to friends all over the continent with their radios.

Amateur Radio activity is growing in the United States. In 2009 over 30,000 new people became “hams.” The technical skills of hams also has improved as almost 50% of American Amateur Radio operators have gone beyond the entry level licensing requirements and passed the more difficult testing to earn higher class FCC licenses. There are more than 680,000 Amateur Radio operators in the US, and 2.5 million around the world.

In the past months, the news has had many reports of ham radio operators providing critical communications in emergencies world-wide. During fires, earthquakes, tornados and other crises, Amateur Radio was often the only way by which people could communicate. Amateur Radio operators are often the first to provide critical early information and observations to emergency responders in crisis situations. FEMA, DHS, the National Weather Service, and emergency management offices have Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES®) operators in their emergency communications plans. On June 26-27, the public will have a chance to meet and talk with the hams and see for themselves what the Amateur Radio Service is about. Using their digital and satellite capabilities, voice communications, radio and even Web-radio hybrid systems along with historic Morse code, they prove “It’s not your Grandfather’s radio anymore.”

Using only emergency power, ham operators will construct temporary radio stations around the country for the weekend and send messages in many forms without the use of phone systems, internet or other infrastructure that can be compromised in a crisis. More than 35,000 amateur radio operators across the country participated in last year's event.

To learn more about Amateur Radio, go to The public is most cordially invited to come, meet and talk with the hams. See what modern Amateur Radio can do. To find out where the Amateur Radio operators will be set up in your area, go to They can even help you get on the air!

World Amateur Radio Day April 18

Don’t forget World Amateur Radio Day which is April 18th. With the recent international Amateur Radio response in Haiti, this is a chance to show the world-wide scope of Amateur Radio. In our desire to make news local, too often the only “flavor” the public gets from us is small, parochial activities in news. It is not what it being said – it’s what’s not said. World Amateur Radio Day, the International Amateur Radio Union’s anniversary, is a good counterweight to that perception.

Much of the ARRL’s response to the disaster in Haiti was done through our IARU contacts. The relationships formed in meetings of the IARU were the foundations for the free flow of information and aid in the past months. Through them, the ARRL was able to provide timely radio resources to Haiti and deepen our partnerships with hams throughout North America.

The letter from Haiti does not reproduce well here, but you can see enough to know that it “has saved many lives.” Knowing that makes it all more than worth it!

Letter from Haiti

The 2010 ARRL Public Relations Committee

The Public Relations Committee is a national level committee of about 10 people appointed annually by the President of the ARRL. Comprised of people with extensive experience in different areas of public relations, media work, news and social issues experience, this committee is the “go to” group to make national level events happen. They provide support, advice and skilled help in many projects and ways. This is very much a working committee and appointees realize that it will take time and effort. But it also pays off handsomely in feelings of accomplishment for those whose passion is Amateur Radio.

Committee Chairman Bill Morine, N2COP

Board Liaison Dr. James Boehner, N2ZZ

Kevin O’Dell, N0IRW
Kevin Pauley, KB9WVI
Walt Palmer, W4ALT
Don Carlson, KQ6FM
Gordon West, WB6NOA
Diana Eng, KC2UHB

RAC Liaison Peter West, VE3HG

ARRL Staff Allen Pitts, W1AGP

The Top Ten

Sitting on my desk is the latest edition of the Harvard Business Review. The cover’s list of articles that should interest me enough to actually read it boasts “Ten Breakthrough Ideas for 2010” and “Five Ways to Bungle a Job.”

(I wonder how many of the “5 bungles” have I already done today?)

From David Letterman to the Reader’s Digest, we all like lists. There’s something compulsive about them. As long as they are kept short, people will want to read them. So here’s a do-list for PIOs in March:

10. Write a letter to a local politician inviting them to Field Day.
9. Go to your local electronic gizmo store and look at the Flip video cameras
8. Say out loud your 2 minute answer to “What’s Amateur Radio?”
7. Get the PR-101 course at
6. Learn how to embed YouTube videos into your club websites (it’s easy).
5. Check your PR-go-kit. If something happened, is it ready to go?
4. Ask for time at the next club meeting to talk about the importance of PR
3. Write a letter to the local TV station about the coming of Field Day
2. Take pictures (or even better – video!) for background, B-roll, shots
1. Write a “Top Ten services hams provide for our community” column and send it to your local paper.

Know Any Good PIOs?

Say “Thanks” for a great PR year with the
Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award

Have you seen the articles about Amateur Radio in the papers? Maybe it was on TV or over broadcast radio. Each week dozens of internet links come in to ARRL HQ showing where Amateur Radio was promoted in the news in some way. From magazine articles to local cable stations, Amateur Radio PR is very active and this year has been exceptionally good! But who made it all happen? Who has been spending the time and effort to not only say that we need more publicity, but to actually go do something about it?

Throughout the year hundreds of ARRL PICs, PIOs and other PR volunteers kept Amateur Radio visible in their communities by publicizing special events, writing press releases, creating media for radio, websites and television, and so much more. If you know of someone who achieved public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio, nominating him or her for the McGan award is the perfect way to recognize their efforts and say thank you.

The award’s namesake, Journalist Philip J. McGan, WA2MBQ (SK), served as the first chairman of the ARRL’s Public Relations Committee. In honor of Phil, his friends in the New Hampshire Amateur Radio Association joined with the ARRL Board of Directors to pay a lasting tribute to the important contributions he made on behalf of Amateur Radio.

The McGan award will go to that ham who has demonstrated success in Amateur Radio public relations and best exemplifies the great volunteer spirit of Phil McGan.

Public Relations activities for which the McGan Award is presented include efforts specifically directed at bringing Amateur Radio to the public’s attention (and most often the media’s) in a positive light. This may include traditional methods, like news stories, articles and broadcasts, or non-traditional methods such as hosting a radio show or being an active public speaker. PR is fundamentally getting our message out to non-amateur people.

The ARRL Public Relations Committee will review all nominations and send a recommended winner for approval by the ARRL Board of Directors at the July meeting.


  • 1) The award is given to an individual (not a group), who must be a full ARRL member in good standing at the time of nomination. The nominee must not be compensated for any public relations work involving Amateur Radio (including payment for articles) and may not be a current officer, director, vice director or paid staff member, or a member of the ARRL Public Relations Committee.
  • 2) The winner of the Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award will demonstrate volunteer public relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio at the local, state or national level, and will live up to the high standard of achievement exemplified by Philip J. McGan.
  • 3) Anyone may make a nomination.
  • 4) Deadline: Nominations must be received at ARRL HQ in Newington by 5PM May 21, 2010. Nominations arriving after the deadline or without an entry form cannot be considered.
  • 5) Eligible nominations will be screened by a committee of Amateur Radio operators knowledgeable about public relations, which will forward its recommendation to the Programs and Services Committee of the ARRL Board of Directors. The Board will make a final determination at its July meeting and the winner will be notified shortly thereafter.
  • 6) Nominations must be on an official entry form, available from ARRL Headquarters. The nomination will include a written summary whenever possible.
  • The required entry form is below, or you can e-mail Ask for an official 2010 Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award entry form.
  • 7) Return the completed entry form and supporting materials to: Philip J. McGan Memorial Silver Antenna Award, c/o Allen Pitts, W1AGP, ARRL, 225 Main St., Newington, CT 06111.

2010 Philip J. McGan Memorial
Silver Antenna Award
For Excellence in Public Relations for Amateur Radio

Nominee's Name:________________________________________________

Callsign: _______________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________

City/State/Zip: ___________________________________________________

Daytime Telephone: _(____)____-________________

E-mail address: ___________________@_____________________________

Name of person making nomination: __________________________________

Callsign: _______________________________________________________

Address: _______________________________________________________

City/State/Zip: ___________________________________________________

Daytime Telephone: _(____)____-________________

E-mail address: ___________________@_____________________________

AMATEUR RADIO INVOLVEMENT - Briefly describe the nominee's involvement with Amateur Radio:

PUBLIC RELATIONS - Briefly describe the nominee's contribution to Amateur Radio public relations:

PUBLIC RELATIONS PROJECTS - What specific project(s) reflect the nominee's ability and commitment to Amateur Radio public Relations?

RESULTS — How has the nominee's contribution changed public perceptions toward Amateur Radio in your community or elsewhere?

Documentation — Pleased indicate briefly the materials submitted in support of this nomination.

Please include supporting material such as project samples, clippings, printed material or letters with this nomination form. Use additional paper if necessary to complete any of the items above.

If at all possible, please put copies on a computer CD disk or into computer file forms.

Signed (Nominator):_____________________________Date: ____________

Call sign _________

Nominations must be received at ARRL HQ in Newington by 5 pm May 21, 2010.

2009 Leonard Award Winners

While the McGan is for volunteers, the professional media covering Amateur Radio is not forgotten. Last year the Public Relations Committee recommended changes to the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award. These changes become effective and included :

1) The Award was divided into three categories, each with its own award

a. Audio formats
b. Visual formats
c. Print and Text formats

2) Each category is to have an honorarium of $250 for the best selection within that category which goes to a charity of the winner’s choice.

Kim Byrnes of WDAF Fox-4 won the video format for her excellent coverage of Field Day events. Her choice for the honorarium is the Fox-4 Love Fund for Children.

Ted Randall of the QSO Radio Show won the audio format, this time in recognition of the work done in his podcasting the show around the world. His choice for the honorarium is work with youth in schools through the ARRL Foundation supporting the Education and Technology Program.

Vicky Taylor is the Text/Print winner for her work in the Chambersburg, PA Public Opinion. Her choice for the honorarium is the Franklin County Library.

The awards are normally presented by the ARRL Director for the division in which the recipient lives. According to Bill Morine, N2COP, Chairman of the PR Committee and the person who called the winners, the idea of the honorarium to their favorite charity was a real delight to the winners. They may not be able to accept any money themselves due to their jobs, but being able to support their favorite charity was even better!

PIC Website

PICs do a lot of work, but not many create their own website for passing on information for their section. Woody Woodward, K3VSA , is a new PIC and did just that. Check it out at: . Are there other PIC specific sites? If you know of one, send it in!

The Last Word

It’s a new year, there’s a new website coming, our first experience with the Leonard Award in the new format was great, we have more PR 101 grads, we have new materials for initial outreach to schools, life is rosy…
But wait…. There’s more…..

Here are some of the things you probably don’t know:

With help and assistance from Mark Kraham, W8CMK, and Ed Tobias, KR3E, we’ll be making a presentation about Amateur Radio to the Radio and Television Digital News Association (RTDNA) at their national convention in April.

Members of the PR Committee are working on an update for the 30 second Field Day video public service announcement and new audio PSA’s too.

The standardization of ARES® deployment clothing has been very well received! (See the Feb 2010 issue of CONTACT!) . The most frequent comment is a chorus of “It’s about time!” Even though this is very new and most vendors are still processing the change, we’re told that over 100 of the new standard vests were ordered at just one hamfest last week. The positive impact of a standard appearance for ARES activities, a professional and easily recognizable look, will go a long way in gaining recognition for all the services hams provide to communities through ARES.

There are 455 leaders, media and PIOs subscribed to the PR email reflector.

Recent graduates to the PR-101 course include:
Michael Manshack AD5OG
James Duram K8COP
Glenn Cox KE4BMY
John Rabold John KS6M
Steven Pituch W2MY
Richard Goldy K5GOL
Emily Wells KC8RAL
Stanley Zawrotny K4SBZ
Raymond Woodward K3VSA

Congratulations and a well done to you all!

The new ARRL website will have the Swiss Army Knife, Hello, EmComm and Technology campaign materials plus a lot more available for download. The video capabilities alone will be exceptional, so get yourself a video camera (they are getting cheap now) and join the 21st century media.
Speaking of videos, Diana Eng, KC2UHB, is now on the ARRL PR Committee. If you have not seen her work, there are many excellent pieces she has done. One of the most recent is at .
We’re looking at plans for Dayton that, along with our usual promotional activities, will highlight promoting Amateur Radio with youth and in schools.

Sunspots are coming back!
So life indeed is rosy, but there’s a lot of work for us all to do. The top ten things on my top list are my ten other ten do-lists. But it’s an exciting time and it is all “good stuff.” I hope you also will use this month to make definite plans and start in on activities which will pay off as the year unfolds. Amateur Radio can’t afford to sit back and wait for media to come to us.

Allen Pitts, w1agp
Media & PR Manager


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