MAY-JUNE 2016 Virginia Section Manager Report
Section Theme---“Moving forward with Amateur Radio for our Future”
Spring rains have dampened many outdoor activities in much of our state these last several weeks. Hamfests including Dayton are in full swing and it appears attendance is up in many of these early fests, which is great both for hams and vendors.
Field day is just around the corner and preparations are under way across our state. Remember, practice makes perfect and when you practice, it gives you the experience and knowledge of what you need to do and how to respond during an actual emergency. This is very critical knowledge.
Headquarters is actively reviewing and evaluating possible improvements to our Official Observer programs. The OO program is a critical part of Amateur Radio rules enforcement support of the FCC. With the cutting of budgets again of many federal agencies, the FCC is no exception. So, our OO programs become even more important in support of Amateur radio and the FCC.
Please make use of our new ARES Virginia Web site. It contains links to many important ham radio web sites as well full interactive ARES reporting, ARES applications and many other features for old as well as new hams.
ARES/RACES of VA on FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/groups/101756496822770/ is very active and I am pleased to report quite a number of new ARES applications. We are really excited that we are getting applications not only from new hams, but also from experienced older hams.
We have been getting questions about various EMCOMM programs and their education and applications in various emergencies. I will try and explain here in brief, answers to many questions presented to us.
First I want to stress that all of these programs exist for the benefit of our families as well as public citizens both here in Virginia as well as all over the USA and the world.
Over the last several years there has been a push by the Federal Government, especially since the 911 disaster in NYC, to develop the ability for all public safety and volunteer agencies to be able to communicate with each other during any type of emergency. That being said, radio frequencies are an entire subject by itself and apply mainly to Public Safety Agencies . For Amateur Radio, we communicate on our own frequencies.
Amateur Radio is being applied to disasters/emergencies as the means to pass critical information to controlling governmental agencies when other means of communications are not available/congested/destroyed, etc.. This means that all Amateur EMCOMM persons need to learn and know the Incident Command System forms as well as how it operates. This then allows hams to work within the confines of our countries Disaster/Emergency/Public Safety systems.
It is important to understand that we have many more local and regional events than national controlled emergencies/disasters. Working with your local governmental agencies is first and foremost in your training. Website: http://www.aresracesofva.org and https://www.aresva.us
Every volunteer organization must have plans and rules of operation and responsibility, just like a company that manufactures shoes, shirts, food, etc.. That being said, you have persons who will like some organizations rules and not others. This is what brings many different emergency organizations to the table, ----but the ultimate end result is to provide communications support for an emergency or disaster event. THIS IS WHY WE PROMOTE COOPERATION BETWEEN ANY AND ALL EMCOMM SERVICE GROUPS. Our mandate is to encourage and grow amateur radio in Virginia. This means working with all amateurs, ARRL members or not.
VIRGINIA DEPARTMENT OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT
Be sure and check the Ready Virginia web page for emergency preparedness. https://www.ready.gov/virginia
This page includes what actions to take when you receive a hurricane watch or warning alert from the National Weather Service for your local area.
While we have had several rain storms this past month, fortunately we have not had any serious storms requiring emergency activations.
The new SKYWARN V 8.0 OPS portal has now been updated and deployed.
With Hurricane season here in a couple weeks, be sure to check with the National Hurricane Watch Net, www.nhc.org and the VOIP Hurricane Net at http://www.voipwx.net
You can also view the new Division Facebook page at:httpww.facebook.com/ARRL-Roanoke-Division-s://w1114578661885666/
Our traffic systems utilize very dedicated hams. Traffic appears to steady, but slow. We encourage all hams to learn about the traffic system because it is still in use during emergencies . Please support your NTS.
NATIONAL PARKS ON THE AIR UPDATE
The ARRL/National parks year long event, is progressing very well. NPOTA event will take center stage at Dayton Hamvention May 20-22. Larry Burke K5RK is the first ham to confirm 400 of the 484 eligible NPS units. Please check the NPOTA calendar for additional details. You can also follow on Facebook and Twitter.
AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT
H.R. 1301 and S. 1685 are both still making progress attracting more sponsors. Please keep up to your letters to your congress representatives.
Virginia’s Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday is Aug 5 to Aug 7. No sales taxes on many supplies you may need for Hurricane Preparations.
Old Virginia Hams Hamfest is being held Sunday, June 19 at the Prince William County Fairgrounds. http://www.manassashamfest.org
ARRL Field Day is June 25-26. The latest number of FD stations listed for 2016 can be seen at ARRL’s Field Day Locator webpage at http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator. Listed locations also help inactive Hams, new Hams, and those interested in learning more about Amateur Radio, invited dignitaries and guests, and media find you.
ARRL June VHF Contest- The second full weekend in June. Begins 1800 UTC Saturday, runs through 0259 UTC Monday (June 11-13, 2016).
We have heard from a couple of clubs that they will be setting up 6M & 2M stations for the contest on June 11 as a test for FD.
Please Check the ARRL Letter for all ARRL events and meetings
REMEMBER----Education is the key to your success, both in Ham Radio as well as in your life.
Dr. Joe Palsa
Virginia Section Manager