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Dr Joe Palsa
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This is another dual month letter due to Covid-19 Virus and the effects it has had on the Amateur Radio community in Virginia and around the world. I do not need to repeat the details of all the ham radio activities that have been cancelled. However in some few cases as a result of some partial reopening of activities, hams have been able to partially create some activities. There really is not any major changes in the Covid-19 restrictions from my last report. My reporting is designed to help all hams keep up with the goings on the ham radio world in Virginia as well as the world. If I make a mistake, please let me know as I try to be as accurate as possible.


Even more activities planned for the rest of 2020 have been cancelled with tentative plans for early 2021 are also being reviewed at this time. We have seen many college and professional sports events being cancelled and some being played without fans and only TV broadcasts.

This is a truly trying time for society as a whole. Our total world is upside down. Some schools are restarting under special conditions and other are still staying on line only.


I implore everyone, no matter what you think you know, PAY ATTENTION to the medical professionals as this virus is still killing many adults as well as children. We can beat it, but ONLY with the public’s cooperation.

ARRL board of directors have hired a new CEO, David Minister, NA2AA and a new Director of Emergency Management, Paul Gilbert KE5ZW. Both are experienced hams as well as experienced executive managers. We all wish them well and we look forward to their thumb prints on ARRL’s new direction and operations management. More information can be found on ARRL website.


The International Space Station (ISS) has received a new ham radio and cross band retranslator IORS, uplink is 145.990Mhz with tone : 67Hz

(CTCSS) and downlink of 437.800Mhz. The new radio system will improve the ham radio contacts with school educational programs as well as individual ham contacts.

The FCC has proposed a new fee’s NPRM in MD Docket 20-270 for amateur radio as well all  types of communications systems licenses. For many years internal budgets were simply taxpayer financed. The new NPRM is designed to raise self funding for the licensing operations. The $ 50.00 amateur radio fee covers each transaction made. Example is new license, renew license, vanity call, etcc.


ARES programs with CONNECT are continuing to grow each month. Virginia ARES is moving forward with new DEC’s and EC’s in the new ARES/VDEM district format. Increased EC educational programs are being implemented and are becoming well accepted. The DERECHO storm that raised havoc in the midwest did have some effect in Virginia with minor damages.

Hurricane Laura while expected to eventually migrate into Virginia, did drop a lot of rain had caused some flooding in western part of the state, but thankfully was not as bad as it could have been. Preparations were in place by all ARES groups and emergency services on the gulf coast as well as here in Virginia.. Hurricane watch net was active for over 29 hours straight. The FCC granted a temporary waiver to permit PACTOR 4 for 30 days for emergency communications. Hurricane season is still here so we must all stay vigilant along with our SKYWARN members.

Many Zoom meetings are the norm now for emergency preparations as well normal club meetings. The WINLINK Wednesday net is still going strong with many nets having total check in of over 200+ messages.


Plans for the RED Cross exercise which include, ARES, and other emergency communications operations on November 14, 2020 are being formulated from the success of our exercise earlier this year. This will be a nation wide exercise. The ARRL SET is planned for October 3-4 this year is also being planned for our Virginia ARES and other EMCOMM groups at this time. Details of both plans will be sent via a Virginia Section newsletter as we get closer to exercise time. In the meantime, communications with all participants are ongoing at this time as part of the planning process.


MARS programs are going to undergo a major change in operations. Air Force MARS is implementing the AF MARS Enterprise Migration to APAN.

This is the collaborative solution for the DOD. APAN is a collection of communities to foster information and knowledge sharing between the U.S.

Department of Defense and non-DOD entities who do not have access to traditional DOD networks,


There are now many new 30 minute webinars offered on many Amateur Radio subjects like, Antennas, Amplifiers, ARES, DXing, and other technical subjects. These can be found listed in QST as well as on the ARRL web site.


The Culpeper Amateur radio Assn. (CARA) is going to host “Junk in the trunk” on Oct 10th, at the Culpeper Agricultural Enterprise, 10220 James Monroe Hwy, Culpeper Va.  Cost is $ 5.00 per car. Contact Mike Moore Covid 19 restrictions will be followed.


Everyone stay safe, please follow Covid 19 restrictions where required and enjoy ham radio from your own shack. We all hope and pray for vaccine and return to face to face hamfest and meetings soon. Also, our country needs you at this critical time for our country----PLEASE VOTE----either early or in person on election day. Our country NEEDS YOU.

Dr Joe Palsa

Virginia Section Manager





Virginia Officials