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Expanded ARRL Presence at HamCation® Provides Room to Meet and Greet Volunteers


ARRL’s expanded presence at Orlando HamCation® February 9-11 — sanctioned as the 2018 ARRL Florida State Convention — enabled a suitably sized gathering place to meet and greet volunteers from the ARRL Southeastern Division, including ARRL Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK, and Vice Director Joey Tiritilli, N4ZUW, as well as Section Managers and ARRL Field Organization volunteers. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, also met with visitors to the second-largest US hamfest. Some well-known ARRL Honorary Officials were also on-hand, including Honorary Vice President and former Southeastern Division Director Frank Butler, W4RH; former ARRL President Rod Stafford, W6ROD; and ARRL and IARU President Emeritus Larry Price, W4RA.

Many attendees took advantage of the huge ARRL book store, made possible this year by HamCation’s generous support for ARRL. Convention goers picked-up copies of popular new and flagship ARRL publications. ARRL staffers Yvette Vinci, KC1AIM; Diane Petrilli, KB1RNF; Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R, and volunteers Holly Roderick and Sherry Mahafza, KM4VSW, all contributed to the store’s operation. “Our staff collected membership applications from those wanting to join or renew and returned to ARRL Headquarters with applications totaling 390 ‘membership years,’” said Inderbitzen, who is ARRL Marketing Manager.

A standing-room-only crowd attended the ARRL membership forum, moderated by Southeastern Division Director Greg Sarratt, W4OZK. President Roderick addressed the forum, highlighting ARRL initiatives and answering questions. Sarratt recognized ham radio operators from throughout the Division and country who helped provide public service and emergency communications throughout the 2017 hurricane season and its devastating impact on the southeast US, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands.

Sarratt invited ARRL Puerto Rico Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF, and US Virgin Islands Section Manager Fred Kleber, K9VV, forward to accept the 2018 ARRL International Humanitarian Award on behalf of radio amateurs in their Sections who aided in relief and recovery following the punishing hurricanes.

Many Section Managers from the Southeastern Division shared updates for their regions, and recognized the work of Field Organization volunteers and appointees. Southern Florida Section Manager Jeff Beals, WA4AW, awarded Mo Dake, K9EE, of Lantana, Florida a Certificate of Merit for his 12 years of service as Palm Beach County SKYWARN® Coordinator.

A display featuring the ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative (CARI) included college pennants contributed by a handful of university radio clubs. Andy Milluzzi, KK4LWR, a Systems Engineer at Walt Disney Parks and Resorts and a recent doctoral program graduate of the University of Florida, led a College Amateur Radio forum. He introduced many opportunities to help foster interest in ham radio among college students and campus radio clubs. Topics Milluzzi and other participants covered included ARRL Scholarships, sources of funding for campus radio clubs, and networking students with alumni and professionals.

Inderbitzen also addressed the forum. “There is a renaissance going on right now with renewing Amateur Radio among our nation’s colleges and universities,” he observed. Inderbitzen described ARRL’s support for college radio clubs by providing opportunities for students, faculty advisors, and other supporters to network via the ARRL CARI Facebook Group and at hamfest forums and exhibits held throughout the country. A video of the forum is available on YouTube, produced by Milluzzi brother Tony, KD8RTT, a graduate research assistant at Ohio University who also participated in the CARI forum. The ARRL Collegiate Amateur Radio Initiative is made possible by the W1YSM Snyder Family Collegiate Amateur Radio Endowment Fund, established for ARRL by Ed Snyder, W1YSM, of Wallingford, Connecticut in 2017.

A booth and forum for the ARRL CARI program will also be organized for Hamvention® in Xenia, Ohio, May 19-21. “Bring your school colors to hang in the ARRL exhibit area!” Andy Milluzzi urged. “We’ll display your college pennant, flag, or banner to show off the representation of college and university radio clubs at Hamvention.”

Inderbitzen has posted HamCation photos to the ARRL Facebook page.

HamCation is held each year at the Central Florida Fairgrounds in Orlando. The Orlando Amateur Radio Club (OARC) sponsors the event, with support from volunteers and clubs throughout the region.

 -- Thanks to Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R