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West Central Florida

West Central Florida

Contact Information

Section Name:
West Central Florida
Contact:
Darrell Davis KT4WX
Daytime Phone:
863-245-9923
Evening Phone:
863-245-9923
Email:
kt4wx@arrl.org

Basic Information

Division:
Southeastern
Description:

 

THE WCF PRESSER: ARRL WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA SECTION NEWS

Issue #29 – September 2017

By Darrell Davis KT4WX

ARRL West Central Florida Section Manager

For the PDF version of this newsletter and past issues in PDF format go to http://arrlwcf.org/home/the-wcf-section-presser-arrl-west-central-florida-section-news/.

HURRICANE SEASON IS AT THE PEAK AND A DISASTER HAS ALREADY OCCURED.

First of all my prayers go out to all the people out in eastern Texas, that have endured, what is now primarily the flooding as a result of the landfall and lingering of Hurricane Harvey. Ironically, we have not been “high and dry” either. Several counties in our Section have had flooding from a area of low pressure that got stuck over the West Central Florida Section at the same time Hurricane Harvey was stuck over eastern Texas.

The peak of hurricane season is on Sunday September 10, which is less than two weeks away from when newsletter is being published. Please continue to monitor the products issued by the National Hurricane Center. As I stated last month, products that are very useful are the Text Version of the Tropical Weather Outlook and the Graphical Version of the Tropical Weather Outlook, which are issued four times a day by the National Hurricane Center. Do not forget the Area Forecast Discussion issued by the National Weather Service Office in Ruskin which is updated several times a day. You can read both of these products on your computer, smartphone, or tablet. There are smartphone and tablet apps you can install on your device to read them as well. Check your supplies and equipment often. Use your ARES Go-Kits on occasion to be sure they are in working order, both equipment and batteries. Most of all have your emergency plan for you and your family complete ahead of time

We are reminded of another important point here as well: Please do not self deploy to any of the disaster areas in eastern Texas or even possibly Louisiana. This is good advice for any disaster. As of this publication date you could not get into many of these places due to flooding. When those in Emergency Management in these areas are ready for assistance from outside, they will ask for it. Those request will come down to us primarily the Florida Division of Emergency Management and then through our local Emergency Management office. Without this invitation, and subsequent authorization to travel, you will not be allowed in to help and in many cases your travel expense will be not be reimbursed. This also applies to any disaster assistance outside your county that is even within the State of Florida.

 

NEXT WEST CENTRAL FLORIDA SECTION ARES MEETING – 10/21/17:

The next West Central Florida Section ARES meeting will be held on Saturday October 21, 2017 at 1300. The meeting will be held at the Hillsborough County EOC. As is customary, the meeting will be preceded by the Section ARES Luncheon, which will be held at the Golden Corral on the west side of Brandon, just a few miles from the EOC. For more information on the Section ARES Meeting go to http://arrlwcf.org/event/wcf-section-ares-meeting-1017 and for more information on the Section ARES Luncheon go to http://arrlwcf.org/event/wcf-section-ares-luncheon-fall-2017/. I look forward to seeing many of you there as can make it.

 

HAMFESTS ARE STILL FUN
By Rich Kennedy N4ESS – WCF Public Information Coordinator and Affiliated Clubs Coordinator.
 

Hamfesting is not dead. It has just taken on a new look. eBay, Amazon, online sales, and trading of ham radio equipment has somewhat deflated our image of the old time hamfest. Out with the old and in with the new is the way that progress goes. Making a hamfest successful today takes plenty of planning and lots of volunteers. A great idea falls to the wayside if there is no one to implement it. Dayton, Orlando, Huntsville, to mention a few, are all hamfests powered by lots of volunteers. A large venue charges large dollars today. Those dollars come from attendees. Attendees are there because the hamfest is being filled with manufacturers, vendors, and forums. Some of everything to appeal to the most people.

On Friday August 18, 2017 me, N4ESS, and Peggy, N4PEG, followed by Chris, AA4CB, set out for the Huntsville, AL. hamfest. August seems to get the hamfest season rolling and we wanted to kill two birds with one stone. Attend the hamfest and see the eclipse nearer to the totality area. Huntsville takes over 10 hours of driving to get there but the trip was great. The Hamfest started on Saturday morning at 9am and we were there at the Von Braun Convention Center. We awaited the opening of the doors along with a few hundred other people. The whole hamfest is inside so the vendors and “tailgaters” are all together. The major manufacturers were all in attendance. Several high profile vendors were also present. Every part, cable, new radio, old radio, antenna, and electronic whiz bang was represented in this myriad of tables.

Walking through the hall your head is on a swivel trying to take it all in and familiar voices resonate from the crowd. Ham TV personalities all doing their interviews and stories. Then comes the more familiar voices, West Central Florida, WCF, section voices. Coming through the crowd was Dave, N4DLW, of Brandon and George, W4AQR from Tampa. Right off the bat WCF is represented by five hams. There may have been more but I did not get a chance to see them. A good time had by all.

Attending hamfests is our way of supporting these groups and organizations while having a nice getaway for the weekend. You don’t have to make the long trips but please try to attend the ones here in Florida if at all possible. Attendees are the support that clubs need to keep hamfests, tailgate gatherings, and clubs alive and well. These activities help bind us together as a unique group, to put callsigns with faces, and supply needed support for our ham radio community to thrive.

West Central Florida, WCF, is a great cross section of the Amateur Radio community. You see this at hamfests, club meetings, and forum presentations. The warm weather and year round ability for all kinds of activities is a great attraction for lots of hams to move to our area. Be an active part of the WCF family and support your local club activities and spread the word. Hamfesting is not dead it is just changing. Ham Radio is alive and flourishing here in the sunny WCF section. I hope to see a lot of you this year at Melbourne, Orlando, Tampa, Pensacola, Jacksonville, Miami, and lots more. Hamfest season is here.

 

ARRL STATION APPOINTEE MONTHLY REPORTS ARE DUE:

Just a reminder to all in the WCF Section who hold an ARRL Station Appointment. Your monthly reports are due for the previous month of activity. You may file your reports on the Section website at http://arrlwcf.org/section-forms/. You may also send your report via email to the respective cabinet member that is the coordinator for your appointment as well. Many thanks to all of you who do file your reports. Filling a monthly report is a requirement to hold an ARRL Station Appointment. If you do not file a report at least once a year, you appointment may be canceled due to lack of activity.

 

UPCOMING HAMFESTS IN THE SECTION:

The fall portion of the 2017-2018 hamfest season is getting underway:

 

NOMINATIONS ARE NOW OPEN FOR THE 2017 WHITE AWARD

Nominations are now open for the 2017 White Award. The White Award was instituted in 2016 to recognize the amateur radio operator who has made the greatest contribution to amateur radio in the West Central Florida Section in the last year. The White Award is named after Ellen White W1YL, who was a Section Communications Manager in the 1950's and worked for ARRL HQ. For more details on the White Award go to the
White Award page of the Section Website

 

42ND ANNUAL TAMPA BAY HAMFEST AND WCF SECTION CONVENTION

The 42nd Annual Tampa Bay Hamfest and the 17th Annual ARRL West Central Florida Section Convention will be held on Friday December 8th and Saturday December 9th, at the Strawberry Festival Grounds Expo Hall in Plant City, FL. The forum rooms are a tremendous improvement over what we have had in previous year. This year in addition to the regularly scheduled forums, we will present the 2017 White Award to its recipient during the ARRL forum. Another guest from ARRL HQ will have to be requested due to the departure of Sean Kutzko KX9X from ARRL HQ in early August.

 

4th ANNUAL TECHCON COMING UP IN FEBRUARY – REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Coming up on Saturday February 24th, 2018, will be the 4th Annual TECHCON, the annual Technical Conference for the ARRL West Central Florida Section and will be held at the Polk County Emergency Operations Center, located between Winter Haven and Lakeland in Polk County. Our special guest speaker from the ARRL Lab will be Bob Allison WB1GCM. Attendance is free of charge but please register to attend at the TECHCON Registration Page on the Section website. Many of our speakers from previous years are planning on returning this year as well with new programs. However, we are still looking for new speakers that would like to do a presentation on any technical topic that is amateur radio related.

 

ANOTHER WCF SECTION SIMULATED EMERGENCY TEST SCHEDULED FOR 10/07/17

The next WCF Section Simulated Emergency Test for 2017 will be held on the morning of Saturday October 7th from 0900 through 11300, in conjunction with the national ARRL Simulated Emergency Test. The goal of this SET is a repeat of the goal of the SET held on Saturday August 12th. The goal of the Simulated Emergency Test is to test communications, without the use of the NI4CE repeater system or the statewide SARNet, between the ten county EOC's and the State EOC in Tallahassee, to test the VHF an UHF capabilities of the county EOC's to communicate either on simplex or on local repeaters only and to test communications on HF via NVIS between the ten county EOC”s and the State EOC's. The only change will be to some of the point categories.

For more information on the SET, you may go to the WCF Section Simulated Emergency Test page at http://arrlwcf.org/wcf-special-events/west-central-florida-section-ares-simulated-emergency-test/. We look forward to the participation of the ten county EOC's in the second SET for this year.

 

AMATEUR RADIO PARITY ACT REFILED AND PASSED BY THE U.S. HOUSE AND ON TO THE U.S. SENATE:

Update 7/12/17: The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017 was introduced in the US Senate on July 12, marking another step forward for this landmark legislation. Senators Roger Wicker (R-MS) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) are the Senate sponsors. The measure will, for the first time, guarantee all radio amateurs living in deed-restricted communities governed by a homeowner's association (HOA) or subject to any private land use regulations, the right to erect and maintain effective outdoor antennas at their homes. The Senate bill, S. 1534, is identical to H.R. 555, which passed the US House of Representatives in January.

ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, is calling on League members to urge their US Senators to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017, S. 1534. ARRL has opened a RallyCongress page to simplify the task. For more information see the ARRL News article at http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-president-issues-call-for-members-to-reach-out-to-their-senators-to-support-s-1534.

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2017, refiled in the U.S. House or Representatives on January 13, 2017, was passed unusually quickly on January 23, 2017. The Amateur Radio Parity Act will required the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal preemption policy to include homeowners association regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as 'covenants, conditions, and restrictions' (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same legal protections to include private land-use agreements without direction from Congress.”

 

CHECK OUT THE SECTION WEBSITE - http://www.arrlwcf.org:

If you have not done so lately, check out all the information that is posted on the Section website at http://www.arrlwcf.org. The latest WCF SECTION PRESS RELEASES, upcoming special events, monthly club meetings, are all posted there. We will be adding more content to the Section website here during the summer months including the VE test session calendar, local radio net schedule, and lists of the various ARRL Station Appointee that serve you here in the West Central Florida Section.

 

CLUB HIGHLIGHT OF THE MONTH: Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Club

Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club: Based in the city of New Port Richey, in Pasco County. They have a website, a Facebook page, have their own clubhouse, operate a repeater on 146.670 MHz with no PL tone, and is running in Analog/Fusion automatic mode selection. They recently began holding a bi-annual hamfest as well. The next hamfest will be Saturday October 21st.

Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Facebook Page – Link to their Facebook page that shows a picture of their clubhouse.

(Picture in PDF version of the Newsletter)

Gulf Coast Amateur Radio Club Website - A screenshot of the WEBhome page.

(Picture in PDF version of the Newsletter)

 

COMPUTER APPLICATION OF THE MONTH: APACHE OPENOFFICE

If you are looking for a program to type documents, produce spreadsheet, or even produce PowerPoint compatible presentations, then Apache OpenOffice is for you. It was originally produced for Linux but is available in Linux and Windows versions and best of all it is free charge and mostly open source if you are brave and wish to modify it yourself for your own use or build additions into the program. The neatest feature of Apache OpenOffice is that it will read and save files in Microsoft Office format as well as its native format. You can even export many of the products to PDF format for publication. You may download the latest version from http://www.openoffice.org. The download is a little over 150 Megabytes in size so be sure you have enough room to download it and reasonably high speed internet connection.

Below is a screenshot of this issue of THE WCF PRESSER in production. This is the program that it is edited and produced with, and it is exported to PDF format as well.

(Picture in PDF version of the Newsletter)

 

NET CONTROL STATIONS NEED FOR WCF SECTION HF ARES AND INFORMATION NET

If you have a reasonable effective HF base station on 75 Meters, you would be perfect to be a net control station for the WCF Section HF ARES and Information Net. The net is held on Saturday at 0730, or immediately following the Florida Phone Traffic Net, whichever is later on 3940 KHz. If you wish to volunteer to be a net control please contact Randy Payne K4EZM or Darrell Davis KT4WX via email and let us know of your interest. Thanks to Doug Williams N2DW who is continuing his service as net control on the 3rd Saturday of the month and to Randy Payne K4EZM who has been filling as net control. However, we do need to get a roster of net control stations to effective administer this net.

 

CURRENT WCF SECTION NET SCHEDULE. PARTICIPATE IF YOU CAN:

The WCF Section holds several different nets for different interests in amateur radio. The listing below gives you the net name, date, time, frequency, and net managers name and call. Here is a listing of the current Section Nets:

  • WCF Section ARES/Information Net – VHF/UHF: Monday 1930 – NI4CE Repeater System –
    Net Manager is J.C. Rivero K4RTC, ARRL Net Manager.

  • WCF Section Technical Net: Thursday 2100 – NI4CE Repeater System -Net Manager is Geoff Haines N1GY, ARRL Technical Coordinator.

  • WCF Section ARES/Information Net – HF: Saturday 0730 - 3940 Khz - Net Manager is Neil Lauritsen W4NHL, ARRL Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator.

  • Eagle Net – WCF Section Daily NTS Net: Daily 2030 – NI4CE Repeater System - Net Manager is Dave Rockwell W4PXE, ARRL Net Manager.

The ARRL West Central Florida Section would like to thank the West Central Florida Group, the owners and operators of the NI4CE repeater system, for allowing the VHF/UHF Section Nets to operate on the system. For more info on the system you may go to http://www.ni4ce.org.

 

SECTION MANAGERS CONTACT INFORMATION AND CONCLUSION:

Contact Information U.S. Mail: 6350 Mills Road Fort Meade, FL 33841 Email: kt4wx@arrl.org Telephone: (863) 245-9923 Website: http://www.kt4wx.org.

Section Information Section Website: http://www.arrlwcf.org Section Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/arrlwcf  Section Twitter:  https://www.twitter.com/arrlwcf  

 

That is all for this issue of THE WCF PRESSER. Otherwise, see you all at a hamfest, meeting, or other special events this month. 73 de Darrell KT4WX.

 

Links:
ARRL West Central Florida Section Website, ARRL West Central Florida Section Facebook Page, ARRL West Central Florida Section Twitter Page

West Central Florida Officials