Register Account

Login Help

May 2011


May 2011

Vol 9, No 5

May 2011


Video and Dayton and PIO work

Flipcams DOA

About W1AW

Getting in the community news

How to pitch your story to the AP

Field Day coming

Using ARRL logos

DIY comic book?

Weather Dates you can use

A quotable quote

What’s the IARU and why is it important to me?

The last word

Video and Dayton and PIO work

As you have probably spotted by now, the ARRL is developing more video capabilities. We believe that video clips and postings are not “the coming thing” but are the NOW thing. Apparently many of you do also as the survey asking about it on was overwhelmingly in favor of more video work.

As part of this movement, we’ve teamed up with Bill Pasternak’s annual Town Hall Meeting at Dayton this year. We’ll be presenting PIOs and other hams with simple ways to do good video work. It’s neither hard nor expensive anymore, and the results are far greater!

As an example, take a look at these videos done by students at the Rochester Institute of Technology. and . The RIT Amateur Radio club students are preparing for balloon launch on May 7th. More information will come out about the launch, but this is a great way to get interest ahead of time!

Here’s another one, shot by Lisa Luanne Spinks, N3LUE, I saw on YouTube. . Yes, they got out safely, but I understand that the people in that house at the point did not make it.

If you are going to Dayton, be sure to make time for the “Meeting” and also stop by the ARRL Public Relations booth and say Hello.

The Public Relations Forum at Dayton will be Friday

2:30 p.m. -3:45p.m. Room 2

Moderator: Allen Pitts, W1AGP, from the ARRL Headquarters staff

Speakers: Mark Abramowicz, NT3V

Kevin O’Dell, N0IRW

Jim Boehner, N2ZZ

Topics include:

the latest information for PIOs about HR 607

plans for a new campaign beginning this fall

integrating video into PR campaigns;

a new job description for Public Information Officers (PIOs);

a PR-101 course update

Flipcams no longer made?

Say it ain’t so! On a sad note, you may recall that I was encouraging the use of the simple “Flipcam” type cameras. Well, I still find them to be simple, easy as can be, indestructible and shoot great pictures. I love mine. They are great for a PIO go-kit. But I have received news that they are not making them anymore! (If you can find one – nail it!)

Did’ya know?

HQ gets many calls asking about W1AW – the flagship station. Can visitors go in there? Sure! W1AW is open to visitors during normal operating hours: from 8 AM until 4 PM ET on Monday through Friday. Licensed amateur radio operators may operate the station from 10 AM to 12 PM and 1 PM to 3:45 PM Monday through Friday. Be sure to bring your current amateur radio license or a photocopy.

Joan Stewart

If you are not already familiar with Joan Stewart, The Publicity Hound, this is a source of PR ideas you should look into. Her columns and blog often have good ideas that actually work well in local PR. One of the more recent ones explains a new outlet developed for community news. I think you will be quite interested in its opportunities for PIOs.

AP Editors coach you on how to pitch stories to them

Recently we reproduced a news release from the RTDNA – the same guys who GET news releases sent to them all the time. It was a great way of showing what the editors and major news leaders want to see in a release as they wrote it themselves.

But then I was asked, “How do you pitch a story directly?” So, here are the Associated Press editors themselves telling you how to pitch a news story at them.

Field Day preparations

The animated 2011 Field Day Logo is available for downloading in two formats at . Look for the Field Day 2011 folder, open it and right click what you need.

Some suggestions from a long-time (and successful) PIO...

Field Day is a grand PR opportunity to showcase amateur radio's capabilities to the public by inviting a prominent official(s) to speak and the public to come hear him (her) at a convenient time during operating hours, also inviting the public at that time and/or to come at another suitable time for a tour of the grounds to see live demos of amateur radio communication in action in simulated emergency settings.


1. Your tour guide(s) obviously should be well spoken well-groomed person(s) who know what field day is all about.

2. Your club's dyed-in-the-wool avid score-hungry operators should be informed about what you are up to so that they will not feel hindered in pursuit of their FD goal.

3. Press releases prior to the event are essential for garnering an audience and for assuring return of officials for next year's Field Day.

73, Al Cohen W1FXQ

Of course there’s more info for PIOs at:

The FD site locator (be sure your group is listed!) is at:

The Field Day posters are really going out fast! These are a major hit this year and are being used well. Take a look at and we recommend them highly. Be sure to get them up around town early.

Logo Uses

As part of their Field Day displays, many clubs want to use ARRL or ARES® branded materials. We encourage this, but there are some rules to keep in mind. You can find information on them at .

Comic Book for Ham DIY-ers

We received an interesting email...

Jeff Keyzer, KF6PBP, Mitch Altman, WB9IQQ, and others have completed a soldering guide for beginners in comic book format, and have made it available for free on the web. It might be interesting to your readers.

Weather dates you can use

According to the Weather Channel, May contains – on average – the most severe weather for the country overall. Bill Morine, N2COP, found the attached calendar a handy tool state-by-state: It gives your state and the dates that the NWS and others are going to use for weather awareness. These are excellent times to piggy-back info about Amateur Radio and Skywarn.

A Good Quote

Julio Ripoll, WD4R was awarded the Distinguished Service Award at the National Hurricane Conference. Congrats! But we also noted that during the event, an excellent quote was made that you may want to use...

National Hurricane Center Director Bill Read, KB5FYA, said that “in an era with increasing reliance on high speed technology, we still need the capability to relay critical information to, and receive critical information from, those communities in their time of greatest need -- in times of disaster when most technology has failed. Frequently, the only viable form of communication is the dedicated ham radio operators in or near the disaster area.”

From the April IARU E-Letter...

You know that the ARRL is part of the IARU. But just what is the IARU and what do they do? (Many members have no clue.) Here’s a brief explanation you can read and freely use.

If you are an ARRL member, you can subscribe to the IARU’s E-Letter directly on the ARRL web site. When you log into the ARRL web site, go to the page where you can edit your profile and edit the email subscriptions that are available.

IARU Structure

The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is an organization consisting of over 160 national amateur radio societies around the world. The International Secretariat for the IARU from time to time receives inquiries from individual amateurs as to how they may join IARU. There are no individual members of the IARU. The best way to support the IARU is to maintain membership in one or more of the IARU national amateur radio societies.

The IARU is governed by the IARU Administrative Council (AC). The AC consists of the IARU President, Vice-President, Secretary and two representatives from each of the three IARU regional organizations. IARU Region 1 is Europe, Africa and the Middle East and parts of Asia. IARU Region 2 is North, South and Central America. IARU Region 3 is most of Asia and the Pacific. The Administrative Council determines the policy for the IARU. All of the members of the IARU AC are volunteers as are the officers and directors of the IARU regional organizations. The current President of the IARU is Tim Ellam VE6SH from Canada and the Vice President is Ole Garpestad LA2RR from Norway. The current regional representatives from the three IARU regions come from The Netherlands, Senegal, Venezuela, Mexico, Australia and Japan. The IARU is truly an international organization in both the scope of work and outlook.

As noted in the last issue of this E-Letter, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is the United Nations agency that deals with information and communication technologies. Included within the scope of the ITU work are communication services such as the amateur radio and the amateur-satellite services. The Radiocommunication Sector of the ITU (ITU-R) manages the international radio-frequency spectrum and satellite orbit resources. One of the most important activities of the IARU is to work within the ITU structure to preserve and maintain the spectrum allocated to the amateur radio and amateur-satellite services and to promote the usefulness and value of amateur radio. IARU attends all ITU-R meetings that may have any impact on amateur radio. In addition to being a sector member of ITU-R, the IARU also is a sector member of the Development Sector of ITU, or ITU-D. Emergency communications, disaster planning and response are topics discussed in ITU-D and IARU participates in those discussions. The nine individuals who are members of the IARU AC cannot attend all of the numerous ITU meetings that are important to amateur radio. There are quite a number of other qualified individuals, including IARU Expert Consultants and Technical Representatives, who volunteer their time and effort in attending meetings and participate in working groups or study groups on behalf of the IARU.

The IARU AC meets at least once per year but stays in almost daily contact between meetings by email. There are generally a number of IARU officials present at major amateur radio events around the world, such as the Dayton Hamvention or the DARC sponsored event in Friedrichshafen, Germany held in June each year.

In addition to the IARU work within the ITU, there are a number of other activities the IARU is involved in.

The IARU Monitoring System consists of a number of amateur radio operators around the world who monitor the amateur radio spectrum for intruders or non-amateur radio stations transmitting on the amateur radio frequencies. If an intruder is discovered then steps are taken to bring the intruder to the attention of the telecommunication authority where the intruder resides to have the signal removed from amateur radio bands.

The IARU Beacon Project maintains a series of radio beacons in various parts of the world so that amateur operators can determine propagation patterns and participate in propagation studies.

The IARU sponsors the yearly IARU HF World Championship contest. IARU member-societies and IARU volunteers are encouraged to join the contest to promote awareness of the IARU.

The Worked All Continents award is the oldest operating award in amateur radio. The basic award is earned by confirming contacts with the six continental areas of the world (contacts with Antarctica count for the nearest continent with a permanent population). Applications generally are submitted to an amateur’s own national IARU member-society. For more information visit

The IARU sponsors World Amateur Radio Day each year in the spring. IARU member-societies are encouraged to take advantage of this special day to promote amateur radio in their country.

The IARU from time to time also becomes involved in other special projects related to amateur radio.

The Last Word

PRDaily had 42 signs you work in PR. ( Here’s some of them I modified for us. Do they fit?

“Relax" time is in the shower when you always seem to come up with the best PR pitches.

After your coffee, you spend over 20 minutes sorting Google Alerts, competitors, and everything in between before you even reply.

You wake from a dream in the middle of the night, rolling over to grab the pen and paper you keep on your nightstand to jot it down so you won't forget an idea for yet another crazy PR stunt.

You read/hear about a company's crisis and instantly think, "I wonder who their poor PIO is."

You watch televised press conferences for fun and to steal really good talking points.

Your speed-dials connect to Twitter, SM, SEC, PIC, and Pizza Hut.

Actually, some of the best ideas don’t come in the shower or at 2 in the morning. They come from discussions with other passionate PIO types. One of these is being planned out.

You may remember that last year we tried working with Twitter to see what we might do in regard to Field Day. Truth is, not a whole lot came out of that. But we learned a lot and are looking at it again. One factor we missed was the timing of messages. Spreading things out over several days never raised anything to the level worthy of a news alert. So we’re starting to plan out a way in which we can get as many hams as possible to “Tweet” on the same topic and with the same hashtag all in about a 15 minute period. Stay tuned for more info as we plan it through.

Finally, as this is being written, events throughout the Southeastern states are unfolding where once again Amateur Radio is saving people’s lives. In Skywarn spotting, alerts, working with EOC’s, search & rescue groups, chain saw gangs and more, hams are at it again despite populations that object to our antennas, groups that want our frequencies and “Sheeple” (a phrase stolen from Raleigh Adams) who believe that all they need is their cell phone. I have stories -and even video- where hams risked their own welfare in the storms to pass information that helped others.

I don’t know just what is going to happen in the next few days – no one does as they are still sorting out what’s left and what is gone. But I DO know that the hams added another star to our history.

Allen Pitts, W1AGP

Media & PR Manager



Instragram     Facebook     Twitter     YouTube     LinkedIn