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October 2010

October 2010

Vol 8, No 10

October 2010


* Leonard Award – Start NOW

* 75th ARES anniversary status

* Broadcast Video Files now downloadable

* A word about PIOs and PICs

* Hams quiz school students

* is back

* ARES gear for groups

* What’s on the Web?

* How to fix a comment and gain a friend

* A not so “wacky” idea

* S.E.T. Release Template

* The Last Word

Start NOW on Leonard Award Action

TV, radio, magazines, newspapers, blogs, and webcasts – we were on all of them already in 2010 and it’s only September. Now it is time to prepare to say Thank You to the professional media people who made it happen. The way to do that is to nominate them for the Bill Leonard, W2SKE, Professional Media Award.

This national level, annual award honors three professional journalists whose outstanding coverage in audio, video and print formats best reflect the enjoyment, importance and public service value the Amateur Radio Service.

The Award is divided into three categories, each with its own award

a. Audio formats

b. Visual formats

c. Print and Text formats

If you, your group or Amateur Radio activity made the news, this is the way to say thanks to the reporters and promote good media relations.

Full information and application are at

75th ARES® anniversary

How are you doing with the 75th anniversary for ARES? It appears that some sections are using the occasion and materials and are having a great deal of fun with it while getting attention from media and community leaders. Other sections seem to be doing nothing at all.

While “all news is local” and ARRL has provided many aids for local PIOs to use in this, ( we also have made it easier for you to contact your local media by alerting them with a national level press release. It even showed up in lights in Times Square.

Broadcast Quality Video now can be downloaded

John Bloom and the IT folks here at ARRL HQ have set me up a way to distribute large files – like HD video PSAs. For now I have put in several of the .mov type files which are being requested. This will save time in cutting and snail-mailing disks to people for TV and cable systems. It also will allow for much faster responses – especially if something starts popping anfd you need it now. If you go to you should see the videos there and able to download them. (Just don’t y’all go at the same time!)

PICs and PIOs

Over the past year the Public Relations Committee has been working on updating the job descriptions for ARRL PIOs and PICs. The draft criteria have been on the PR section of the ARRL website for several months now, and your comments were helpful. These were integrated and the final draft was sent to all Section Managers. The next stop will be with the Programs and Services Committee for approval.

Right now we have 56 PIC’s listed - so there are still 15 sections without a PIC. (There can only be one PIC in a section.) But we are also gaining trained PIOs – and PIOs are gaining training. Take a look at - are you on the list?

HAMS quiz school students

A unique quiz was recently conducted over HAM radio in India, aiming to create awareness about HAM Radio among school students. But it triggered an idea that we could do here.

As middle and high school students learn about electromagnetism and radio waves, why not have a competition between two school classes? Using a format similar to the old “College Bowl” television program, use ham radio to communicate between the two classes (or schools) as they are quizzed about radio itself.

While you need to be careful not to be “broadcasting,” (stay point to point) it is a way to excite the students, help the teachers and get ham radio involved in school action. is back

If you had not spotted it, some time ago we had to turn off and re-point the web address to the main ARRL website. The site had been maliciously hacked and had material for some Russian massage parlor on it. Even when we replaced the code with backup copies, the problem kept reappearing. Dave Clausen, W2VV, finally seems to have found the problem. It appears that Network Solutions, the host servers, were actually where the problem originated. Every time we re-loaded the files, they were re-infected. But thankfully now the server or whatever problem it was is all fixed and is back up in its original form.

Why is this important?

Hello-Radio is designed to be as simple, friendly and easy as we could make it and show the fun, hobby side of Amateur Radio. Shortly after it was created we discovered that it was not only being used by American hams, but by people all over the world as a resource for attracting others to ham radio.

What’s next?

Ultimately the goal is to update and move the three campaign websites (Hello, Emergency and WeDoThat ) onto the new ARRL servers while keeping their simplicity and same web addresses.

If you have not seen it, take a look at and use it when you want to show the fun, friendly side of Amateur Radio. It’s the best one for youth and general community groups.

Branding ARES®

More and more ARES groups are recognizing the critical need of a unified and consistent appearance for their people. We’re written about this before and it is really important in PR and the impressions we give the community. ARRL’s marketing guru, Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R wanted to pass on information that may be of help to you and your groups.

“All of the ARES deployment gear is available at discounted pricing for a bulk order. I’ll be happy to extend that special pricing to you for a combined order of 10 units or more:

#0099 Hat ARES Deployment retail $14.95 / bulk price $11.96 ea (20% discount)

#0128 Vest ARES Mesh retail $15.95 / bulk price $12.76 ea (20% discount)

#0136 Vest ARES Solid (pockets) retail $24.95 / bulk price $19.96 ea (20% discount)

Orders over $50 qualify for flat-rate shipping of $12.50…regardless of the size of the order. This pricing is not available online. You may direct an order to Bob…and he’ll be happy to pass it along to the fulfillment group for prompt processing. You may also extend this offer to any local group you are supporting.

Media and Public Relations on the Web

While we are continually adding to it, there’s a LOT of materials available to you on the ARRL website in the sections. Here’s some of the topics:

Reporter/Media Information

* ARRL Backgrounders

* ARRL Fact Sheet

* What is Amateur Radio?

* Statistics

* The ARRL

* News Gatherings and Amateur Radio

* Using Amateur Radio in an Emergency

* Amateur Radio Emergency Communication

* Ham Radio Licenses

ARES Anniversary

Press Releases

PR Tools for PICs and PIOs

Now Hear This!

PIO Job Description

PIC Job Description

Proposed PIO Job Description

Proposed PIC Job Description

PR Email Reflector

Public Service Announcements

Video PSAs


Technical video

EmComm video

More Audio PSAs

Placing Audio PSAs

"Swiss Army Knife"

* About Reporters

* Local TV News

* Preflight Planning

* Hints for Interviews

* News Gathering & Ham Radio

* Press Folders

* News Releases

* Release Template

* Replies to Editors

* Dealing with Rejection

* PR Release Form

* Talks

* Promotional Talks

* Successful Recruiting

* Every Ham is a PIO

* ARRL Membership

* Kids

* Scouting

Merit Badge and PIO

* Troop Program

* Emergency work

* PIO Duty in Crisis

* PR Go Kit

* Emergency Tips for PIOs


* PIO and Field Day

* The ARRL

* Membership Recruiting

* Using ARRL Logos

* Write for QST

* Legislation

* Pictures & Releases

* Fair Use Information

* Adult Picture Release Form

* Child Picture release form

* Digital Photo Tips & Hints

PR Courses

PR101 Grads

How ARRL's PR Program Works

Current Contact Issue

Contact 2009 issues

Contact 2010 issues

PIO Handbook

Public Relations Committee


o Hobby

o EmComm

o Technical

ARRL Media Awards

o Bill Leonard Award

o Phil McGan Award

* Media Hits

Media Hits A

Media Hits B

Media Hits C

Media Hits D

External Sites

You Never Know…

James D Johnson, KI4TAT, spotted a comment in Scientific American. Using an example of best PR practices, he wrote them in a polite but factual way only to find a friend there. Here’s James’ story:

In the September 2010 issue of Scientific American magazine is an interesting article by Danny Hillis, The Age of Digital Entanglement” that mentions amateur radio in a statement “In decades gone by, ham radio operators could keep the world connected if commercial communications crumbled.” Hillis developed the "massive parallel" architecture of the current generation of supercomputers and is co-founder of the Long Now Foundation.

Responding, I wrote a letter to Mr. Hillis thanking him for his comment and indicating that amateur radio was alive and well, excerpt from my letter as follows:

“You should be pleased to know that amateur radio is alive and well today. Membership continues to grow each year, with 690,000 licensed in the USA and approximately 2.5 million worldwide. As you are well aware the technology has changed from vacuum tubes, discrete capacitors and resistors to integrated circuits and microprocessors and will continue to change as technology advances but not to the detriment of interested hams. Morse code (CW) continues to thrive but the majority of growth is in digital modes….”

As a result I received the following letter from the Long Now Foundation:

“Dear Mr. Johnson,

I was forwarded your correspondence today regarding Danny Hillis’s

article in Scientific American, and the value of ham radio for

emergency radio communication services.

Hams are everywhere of course, and I'm pleased to report my radio sits

on my desk as we speak tuned to a local CERT radio repeater. Several

of my colleagues at Long Now are very active hams - extras - and their

generosity in sharing their knowledge has helped many, including

myself, discover the value and fun of ham radio technology.

So thank you for being in touch - glad to know you're out there.

We're definitely listening.

73 de Laura KJ6KCX

Laura Welcher, Ph.D.

The Long Now Foundation

Director of Development and The Rosetta Project”

A Not So Wacky Idea

Wesley Chen, WA6CKO, (“ya gotta love that call!”) wrote us about StoryCorps, an oral history project that has announced the third annual National Day of Listening to take place on Friday November 26, 2010. The National Day of Listening is an effort to encourage all Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs to honor a friend, a loved one, or a member of their community by interviewing them about their lives on the day after Thanksgiving.

Participants in the National Day of Listening are encouraged to record their interviews using equipment that is already available to them—a computer, iPhone, tape recorder, or even pen and paper. StoryCorps offers a free Do-It-Yourself Instruction Guide with equipment recommendations, great questions to ask, and ways to preserve and share your interview at

So what does this have to do with Amateur Radio? Who is the “historian” in your group? Who can tell the first-hand, I-was-there history of your club, radio developments or perhaps emergency operations? Why not get them to tell it into a mic and record their memories onto a CD before it gets lost? As we approach the centennial of the ARRL, we need to start gathering these histories.

S.E.T. Release Template

October is the month for the annual Simulated Emergency Test (S.E.T.). While October 2-3 is the preferred dates this year, many sections are holding it on different days. While that makes it hard to do anything on a national basis, it still is a great activity to get media attention.

Be sure to contact your local TV news people – they love SET drills Give them a day, time and location where they can send a camera to get some good action video. Then be sure to be there and looking good if they show up! (ARES vest, clean clothing, no goofy hats, etc.) Have handouts ready to give to them such as the second page of the release below.

This is a “fill in the blank” release you can use and modify to fit your local situation.

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News Release




“Hams” Test Emergency Communications in ___my town/area_

My Town, St Date 2008 – The backup emergency communication skills of area Amateur Radio operators, often called “hams,” are being tested in _____your town___on __date__ as ___town’s___ Amateur Radio operators conduct their annual Simulated Emergency Test.

Using emergency powered radios and working with local agencies, the hams will have only a few hours to create extensive radio communications networks which can be used should there be a failure or overload of normal services. The hams’ ability to get back “on the air” quickly is a critical following major incidents. In addition, the ham radio operators provide “interoperability” – they can pass information between the many government and volunteer agencies which are needed in disasters but often have incompatible communication systems.

This year the __town/area__ Amateur Radio operators will be replicating ____scenario for your SET______________________________________________. The hams have the slogan, “When all else fails – Amateur Radio!” According to __spokesperson__, “The hams of ___town/area___ take that quite seriously.”

Amateur Radio volunteer operators around the country respond to many calls for aid each year. They provide their services and equipment freely to their communities, saving both lives and thousands of dollars for neighbors. They are “Amateurs” only in that they are not paid, but their service in a disaster can be priceless.

Despite the Internet and cell phones, interest in ham radio is growing rapidly in the US. There are now 690,000 FCC Amateur Radio licensees in the USA and over 2.5 million worldwide. They are able to get and transmit information, both locally and world-wide, without depending on other systems.


What do Amateur Radio operators do during and after disasters?

Amateur Radio operators set up and operate organized communication networks locally for governmental and emergency officials, as well as non-commercial communication for private citizens affected by the disaster. Amateur Radio operators are most likely to be active after disasters that damage regular lines of communications due to power outages and destruction of telephone lines.

How do Amateur Radio operators help local officials?

Many radio amateurs are active as communications volunteers with local public safety organizations. In addition, in some disasters, radio frequencies are not coordinated among relief officials and Amateur Radio operators step in to coordinate communication when radio towers and other elements in the communications infrastructure are damaged.

What are the major Amateur Radio emergency organizations?

Amateur Radio operators have informal and formal groups to coordinate communication during emergencies. At the local level, hams work with local emergency organizations and can create area-wide networks of wireless communication called “nets.” At the state level, hams are often involved with state emergency management operations. In large events, hams operate at the national level through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) which is coordinated by the American Radio Relay League (ARRL) and its field volunteers. In addition, in areas that are prone to severe weather, many hams are involved in Skywarn® spotting with the National Weather Service.

Is Amateur Radio recognized as a resource by national relief organizations?

Many national organizations have formal agreements with the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and other Amateur Radio groups including:

• Department of Homeland Security - Citizen Corps

• Federal Emergency Management Agency

• National Communications System

• American Red Cross

• The Salvation Army

• National Weather Service

• Association of Public Safety Communications Officials

To Learn More:

The best way to learn about Amateur Radio is talking to hams face-to-face. To find out how to get started and who to contact in your area, call or write:

The American Radio Relay League, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111

Telephone 1-800-32 NEW-HAM

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The Last Word

I feel good

I will let you in on a secret. The Bear and I have been talking again. We’ve been discussing why people would want to promote Amateur Radio.

Yes, I know all the standard answers: preserve the hobby, protect the spectrum, etc., etc. But I still asked again – why? Why do we do this?

Last weekend at the orientation held for new Section Managers, I finally heard the bottom line answer. “It makes me feel good.”

What makes you feel good?

When I talk about my interests and passions with someone, and they also show interest, it validates me personally and I feel good.

Now that is what I call a primary motivator. We all want affirmation. I can build a whole campaign around that. It’s going to take more thinking and planning, but I am pretty sure you will see it in 2011.

I talked to a friend about ham radio today and I feel good.

Allen Pitts, w1agp

Media & PR Manager


ARES 75th Logo


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