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NORTH CAROLINA SECTION NEWS - JULY 2010

RECENT FCC DECISIONS - Late last week the FCC announced two decisions. The first was the long awaited Report & Order concerning hospital employees who are Amateur Radio operators participating in emergency drills. The ruling frees employees who use the CARES (Carolinas Amateur Radio Emergency Services) system in southeastern North Carolina and those at standalone hospitals to participate in exercises up to one hour per week and in two 72 hour drills per year. The second ruling came from a federal appeals court stating FCC's enforcement of profanity in commercial broadcasting was arbitrary. It is not yet clear the impact this ruling will have on Amateur Radio activities.

FIELD DAY - Congratulations to the dozens of clubs and even more operators across North Carolina who participated in Field Day. For the first time in several years, 10 and 6 meters were open, and many locations had GOTA stations (Get-On-The-Air) for the public and new and inactive Hams looking for more experience. You can see the media coverage many NC Field Day locations received at http://www.arrl.org/media-hits. Also, there are photographs of club Field Day pictures in the new "Photos" section at the Section website at http://www.ncarrl.org/Photos/photos.html and on Facebook at NC ARRL.

ARES - July 1st was the deadline for county Emergency Coordinators (ECs) and District Emergency Coordinators (DECs) to finish FEMA National Incident Management System (NIMS) courses 100, 200, 700 and 800b. These officials have a 30 day grace period until August 1st to finish the courses and retain their EC and DEC appointments. Completion of this training is a requirement from North Carolina Emergency Management (NCEM) for ARES volunteers to participate in government directed events or for deployment to other municipal, state or federal assignments. ARES organizations in surrounding states are placing similar training requirements on their ARES members too. This training will result in higher professionalism and better response capability in increasingly complex emergency situations. What is being asked of ARES members is asked of other emergency response volunteers. Thanks to all who are stepping up to earn these credentials.

TEXT BILL - Several Hams contacted me with concern about the anti-texting bill in the state legislature and its possible impact on mobile operations. We are very fortunate to have an excellent State Government Liaison (SGL), Bob Conder, K4RLC, who constantly monitors pending legislation and regulations. Bob worked with legislators to ensure the most recent bill would not affect Hams operating from their cars. The bill did not pass before the legislature adjourned. Thanks Bob for his dedication and vigilance.

PUBLIC INFORMATION - Public Information Coordinator (PIC) Woody Woodward, K3VSA, of Hillsborough has come up with two great ideas to get people excited about Ham Radio. The first is for kids who try Morse code. They can earn a colorful certificate called "Talk With The Hand". Woody's other idea has caught the attention of ARRL and that is stickers to pass out at VE sessions which say, "I Passed My Ham Radio Exam Today". For more information on these two programs or other ideas for promotion, contact Woody at twth@ncarrl-pio.org Woody and ARRL Public Information Officers (PIOs) around the section are available to help you or your club promote events in your area.

SUMMER YOUTH FUN - Looking for something for the kids to do this summer? Try the Echolink net just for operators under age 18 Sunday afternoons at 5 PM Eastern time. If you have unlicensed people who want to participate in the net so they can try out Ham Radio, remember that a control operator must be present. Sponsored by the East Bay California ARRL section, check in on KR6DD (Node 271122) or N6WN (Node 477737).

JUNE NTS REPORTS - QNI (Net station check-ins) 2,321. Messages passed - 569 STATION ACTIVITY REPORTS (SARs) K4IWW 484, W2EAG 367, W4DNA 211, WK4P 170, KI4YV 145, W4TTO 115, W3HL 113, NC4VA 43, KE4AHC 38, K8SKX 29, KC4PGN 24, WX4MMM 14. JUNE PUBLIC SERVICE HONOR ROLL (PSHR) W4DNA 380, NC4VA 281, W2EAG 210, K4IWW 135, W4TTO 110, KI4YV 100.

ARES - Members - 524*; ICS credentialed - 121*. DEC/EC reports: 26 out of 100 counties *-numbers are lower than previous months because ARES management is working to authenticate members for inclusion in the new ARES database. ATTN ECs and DECs - if you're not filing your monthly reports, your ARES members aren't included in section reports.

HAMFESTS -July 24th, Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society (WCARS) Hamfest, Haywood Co. Fairgrounds, Waynesville. Talk-In 147.390 (PL 94.8); August 7th, Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society (CFARS), Methodist University, Fayetteville. Talk-In 146.91 (PL 100.0)

PUBLIC SERVICE - Check www.hampublicservice.org for opportunities, and please complete an ARRL Public Service Activity Report (FSD-157) after each event. These reports help document the service we provide to communities. Available to complete online at http://www.arrl.org/fsd-157-public-service-activity-report. When you file a report, I'd appreciate if you could please send a copy to me at n2cop@arrl.org.

LAST WORD- A new ARES era is unfolding - an era from which we will all benefit and prosper. At the state ARES meeting in Raleigh in April, ARES leaders made the decision and secured my support in requiring county Emergency Coordinators (ECs) and higher to complete NIMS/ICS courses 100, 200, 700 and 800b. Some questioned why this was becoming a requirement. Actually, former Gov. Easley signed an order in 2006 requiring volunteers on NCEM assignments to have NIMS/ICS training. This mandate was not actively enforced, but it's time we join our neighboring states in elevating our professionalism as emergency responders. Interaction with many government agencies dictates we have this training to be effective. 9/11 and Hurricane Katrina changed how government responds to disasters. Amateur Radio shone brightly in these two events, but we can't rest on our laurels in today's world. Increasingly, municipal, state and federal officials will demand to see NIMS/ICS credentials in emergency situations. They are asking no more from us than they ask of volunteer firefighters and EMTs. As grant money becomes tighter, those organizations with higher percentages of credentialed and trained volunteers will have a greater chance to receive funds than those organizations with untrained volunteers. 21st century disasters require 21st century trained responders. Former SEC Bernie Nobles, WA4MOK, started the ball rolling for NIMs/ICS credentialing of ARES volunteers, and current SEC Tom Brown, N4TAB, is making sure North Carolina Hams are at the forefront among trained ARES members. Central Branch ASEC (Asst. Section Emergency Coordinator) Steve Misel, K4WEB, and Section webmaster and Official Bulletin Station (OBS) Susan Langley-Jones, WA4AKB, are assisting Tom with the creation of a statewide ARES database which will share NIMS/ICS training and availability of ARES volunteers with NCEM officials. Assistant Emergency Coordinators (AECs) within counties aren't required to complete the four courses, but any ARES member who wants to serve in a government assignment using the Incident Command System (and that's the overwhelming number of assignments) will need the NIMS/ICS training. Thankfully, there are only a handful of ARES members resisting this training, and instead of being a burden, I hope they will welcome this as an opportunity. If a 20 year old volunteer firefighter can complete these courses, so can most Hams in North Carolina. This is the chance to show government officials and the public that Amateur Radio is not only engaged and relevant, but is committed to ensuring the public's safety in times of need. Training is a very small price to pay for the freedom and access to the airwaves we enjoy, and the ongoing support of all levels of government for these privileges. If you're an ARES member and you haven't finished completing your NIMS/ICS training, please do it now. We'll all benefit from your investment in this education.