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Dr Joe Palsa
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This month’s report is late due to COVID-19 and the many problems created by the effects of the virus on my work situation as well as family obligations. I know these problems and newly created obligations have affected everyone. We all pray for more and faster testing as well as quicker resolution to all of the economic and unemployment problems the virus created.


ARES – The CONNECT program is moving along with more agencies such as Franklin County, Charlotte County, City of Williamsburg, Northumberland County, and City of Poquoson are some of the new sign ups. Since the recent change to establish 8 ARES Regions instead of 15 ARES disrticts required the appointment of new Regional Emergency Communications Managers. Finding individuals who are known in these areas that have experience and dedication to manage, is always difficult and time consuming. Of course recommendations to our SEC are always welcome.



VDEM – The meeting scheduled for April 22, 2020 has been cancelled and will be rescheduled.


Armed Forces Day events have been postponed and they are looking at rescheduling possibly for Veterans Day in November as a makeup event.


Virginia Section Public Information Coordinator, Ed Gibbs KW4GF is setting up round tables for clubs, including all local and  regional PIC’s to be able to exchange ideas and information on a regular basis.

The object is to get more visibility for amateur radio to the general public as well as ARRL HQ for public service events in addition to emergency communications capabilities. 


HAMFESTS - Delaware State Convention and Hamfest set for April 18, has been cancelled. Winterfest, Virginia Section Convention, in Fairfax, VA, has been rescheduled for March 14, 2021. Dayton is cancelled for 2020.


ARRL - FIELD DAY – 2020 is still being discussed as to what we can expect and as well as what will be allowed to do for that event, at this time. We will update information as we get it.


Many Ham clubs have started to hold meetings via Zoom as this video conference has been become very popular. 


Eastern VHF/UHF Conference has been cancelled.


Recent ARRL E Letter has an extensive article written about our own Greg Butler KW6GB and his creation of Winlink Wednesday in 2016 to establish good practical Winlink communication in Virgiinia for emergency communication purposes. This weekly net provides the capability to all hams to establish and practice the use of digital communications

(Winlink) for use in emergency communications. This program has grown to have 200 plus check-ins from all over the country. Read this article for much more details. Big congratulations to Greg for his creation of this important weekly digital communications test event.


Hurricane Season – Hurricane season is right around the corner and Univ of Colorado has released their yearly hurricane forecast. Their historical forecast accuracy is usually reasonable good.  If this holds true, we all better prepare for the need of amateur radio emergency communications.  Their forecast includes 16 Named storms, 80 named storm days; 8 Hurricanes, 35 Hurricane days; 4 Major Hurricanes, 9 Major Hurricane Days.

Probabilities for at least one major (category 3-4-5) Hurricane landfall on each of the following coastal areas: Entire continental US coastline-69% (avg 52%); US East Coast including Peninsula Florida-45% (avg 31%); Gulf Coast from Florida Panhandle westward to Brownsville -44% (30%). Probability for at least one major (cat 3-4-5) Hurricane tracking into Caribbean. 58% (Avg 42%) Now looking at this forecast today and even reviewing expected updated forecast closer to June, we can still expect a much more active Hurricane season. Reading the full report gives all of data to back up this forecast .


Red Cross-Amateur Radio operators affiliated with the national Red Cross will conduct a nationwide communications drill on May 30. This drill will simulate the types of message traffic that is typical of a national disaster response, such as a hurricane, or wildfire. Hams will utilize digital modes to move a variety of Red Cross data, with special focus given to methods that do not require infrastructure such as a repeater or the internet. The drill features a local option where ARES organization can work with local Red Cross Chapters to drill local and regional functionality. NOTE-This drill is an outgrowth of the regional drill we performed some months ago which included ARES groups from Maine to South Carolina which was so successful.

World Amateur Radio Day is April 18, 2020 which is the 95th anniversary of the IARU.


Dr Joe Palsa

ARRL Virginia Section Manager.




Virginia Officials