Surfin': Serving the Public
Before my stint at ARRL Headquarters in the last century, I knew nothing about Amateur Radio public service, so I was an unnatural for the job of Communications Assistant in the Public Service Branch of the old Communications Department. Under the tutelage of my boss Bob Halprin, K1XA, and his boss, George Hart, W1NJM, I grew to be very acquainted with the public service aspects of ham radio and became active handling traffic on the Nets, co-founded a 2 meter Traffic and Emergency Tet in the middle of the Blizzard of '78, participated in local ARES® activities and eventually held the post of Section Manager of the Nutmeg State. Who would have thought?
Reflecting on our new President's public service record and his call for a new era of responsibility, I noticed that this column has kind of neglected public service. It is time for a change.
As the President said in his Inaugural Address, "...we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task. This is the price and the promise of citizenship."
Similarly, public service is the price and promise of an Amateur Radio license.
There are a lot of Web sites dedicated to ham radio public service, but the public service Web site of Web sites has to be our very own Amateur Radio Public Service page on ARRL Web site. Here you will find many links to a variety of public service tools and resources; however, right at the top, you will find links for the two-prongs of the endeavor known as "Public Service," -- the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and the National Traffic System (NTS) as enumerated in the Public Service Communications Manual.
Explore the links and find out which -- maybe both! -- is your cup of tea and get active. I assure you that public service is work, but it also can be fun. You will discover that it will provide you with a lot of satisfaction, too. Perhaps "DX is," but public service always is.
Until next time, keep on surfin'!
Editor's note: Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU, became an acronym and initialism expert after his stint as SCM/SM of CT SEC. To communicate with Stan, send him e-mail or add comments to his blog. By the way, every installment of Surfin' is indexed here, so go look it up.
Stan Horzepa, WA1LOU