Show Menu

July 17, 2020

Hello from the High Country.

This is the ninth Section Newsletter produced since I became Section Manager on April 1. I hope that I am covering topics that you find interesting and useful.

There have been a lot of hams on the radio recently. We finished Field Day (which ARRL indicates was successful in getting more people on the air than any previous Field Day) as well as successfully pursing all the Thirteen Colonies including the Bonus station at Independence Hall.

Since then, I have been busy with other tasks but here are some noteworthy items.

Shelby Special Event Station Although there will be no Shelby Hamfest this year, you can reach out to your friends in the Shelby club when they celebrate their (canceled) 2020 Hamfest by means of a Special Event that will be on the air from September 4 @8:30 p.m. through September 7 at 8:30 a.m. Their club call is W4NYR and they will be operating on HF and VHF using various modes. Show your support for the Shelby Club by making a contact and getting one of their special Hamfest QSL cards. Info can be found at shelbyarc.org.

ARRL Magazines On the Air is a new bimonthly ARRL publication that began with the January 2020 issue. It was created to help newly licensed hams learn some basic and practical skills not covered in the license exam. Although targeted towards new hams, several longĖterm hams I know (licensed before 1970) stated that they found a couple items in each of the first three issues as being a good refresher or covering something new.

As an ARRL member, you may choose to receive On the Air or QST as your print magazine and receive the other one in digital format. As an ARRL member you are also entitled to receive the National Contest Journal as well as QEX, the experimenters publication, in digital format without any additional cost to you.

Go to arrl.org and log in to your account. Under your name, at the top right of center, click on EDIT MY PROFILE which will open a new page at which you can update your contact information and update your email preferences.

For the benefit of those who read this by way of a club newsletter, log into arr.org as described above and then be sure to check that you want to receive the Directorís and Section Manager Newsletters.

Club Visits I recently participated in video meetings with the Durham FM Association, the Raleigh Amateur Radio Society, the Forsyth Amateur Radio Club. Moreover, I was able to visit in person with the Ashe County Amateur Radio Club on a beautiful evening when they held a social distanced meeting under a pavilion in the Town Park in West Jefferson where I gave Marty Norris W4MLN a certificate of appointment as a Technical Specialist in the NC ARRL Field Organization.

Let me know if you want a video visit and after the COVID-19 rules permit, I will be hitting the road and making in person visits.

I Need Help! Rebuilding activity and interest in the NC Section is a challenge. North Carolina is a big state and there are over 15,000 hams with North Carolina addresses. There are 117 clubs that are affiliated with ARRL. Reaching out to the ham community in North Carolina is more than one person can do adequately.

I am looking for 2, possibly 3, persons to become Assistant Section Manager and be actively involved in outreach in the West and Eastern halves of North Carolina. If I can find three enthusiastic persons, I would add an Assistant Section Manager in the Central Branch.

What would be involved? An Assistant Section Manager participates in club visits, at hamfest as well as public event, when the Section Manager is tied up or needs help at one of the larger hamfests. Mileage will be reimbursed but a monthly activity report is required. Once a month there will be a video meeting that I will hold with other Field Organization appointees in North Carolina to share information about what is going on and to answer questions. If you are interested in a job with no pay (but travel expenses), let me know and tell me about yourself.

Spotlight on the Piedmont Coastal Repeater Network Many newer hams may not be familiar with a system that links wide area 2 meter repeaters across the state and which has been around for a long time. PCRN is the brainchild of my good friend, Danny Hampton, K4ITL.Totally blind since birth, he is an inspiration to those who fear that a significant disability will always limit their potential for achieving great things.

Danny designed the system and wrote custom computer code for the controllers, In 2009, Danny was recognized as Ham of the Year at the Dayton Hamvention. He serves as the Section Technical Coordinator in NC ARRL and is an extremely competent individual.

The PCRN is a system of 20 or so analog repeaters (mostly vhf but a few are uhf) across North Carolina and parts of Virginia that can be linked together as desired by PCRN members. Each local PCRN repeater has on-demand access that links it to a linking hub. The hubs, in turn, can link to and activate remote PCRN repeaters. PCRN makes it possible to talk from Wilmington to Boone, or Hendersonville to Roanoke, using 2 meter handhelds. Using correct access codes, any number of PCRN repeaters can be linked together and then the links can be taken down when the purpose of tying the repeaters together ends.

Supporting and lifetime members of PCRN receive a listing of repeaters, touch tone commands and then they are set to go. Member dues are used to pay for replacing antennas, cables, repeaters or controllers when something breaks. Become a PCRN member and keep this system in working order. Information about the PCRN system can be found at pcrn.net .

ARRL Insurance Clubs and individuals may want to consider purchasing ARRL insurance. One part of the insurance program covers the replacement cost of your equipment. Two years ago our local club took out a policy that covers our repeaters, tower, antennas, hardline cables and associated equipment wherever the covered equipment may be located. We also took out a club liability policy through ARRL insurance that covers us if someone not in the club is injured during a club sponsored activity, including an automobile accident, as well covering us for potential claims if our tower were to fall over and damage otherís equipment at the county-owned site where our repeater is located.

A member of our club checked with some insurance professionals whom he knows and was told that the rate per hundred dollars replacement cost was very good and less costly than coverage through other insurers. As a side note, I have my own ham radio equipment insured through a policy separate from the coverage taken out by our local club. Information on the ARRL insurance program can be found at . www.arrlinsurance.com . License Exams I was asked twice in the past week about when license exams would resume. Clubs have people who want to take the Technician exam and there are others who want to upgrade. Although some VE Teams have suspended giving tests, there are opportunities to take amateur exams in person (with social distancing) and by means of remote testing using a variety of technologies. Information on remote testing can be found at https://hamstudy.org/sessions/ . Check with your local VE Team to see if there are nearby social distancing in person test sessions.

NC National Traffic System Monthly Net Stats - June 2020

Net

Frequency

Net Manager

Check-ins

Traffic Listed

Traffic Passed

Time (Minutes)

Carolinas Net (CW

3571 kHz

John Garrou, KC4PGN

441

138

127

301

Carolinas Slow Net (CW)

3571 kHz

Ned Mellon, KV4WN

156

29

28

718

NC Evening Net

3923kHz

Vacant

413

163

153

616

NC Morning Net

3927 kHz

Joe Holler, W3OJO

314

104

101

490

Central Western Traffic Net

145.15 T100.0

John Trull, N4CNX

303

74

73

501

Eastern NC Traffic Net

146.85 T88.5

Dave Roy, W4DNA

147

40

40

237

Piedmont Coastal Traffic Net

146.88 No Tone

Joe Squashic, W4TTO

207

62

61

260

Additional information about individual station reports and the NTS Public Service Honor Roll can be found at the NC ARRL webpage (ncarrl.org). Formatting issues with the ARRL email system makes if very difficult to maintain column integrity with tabular data.

Lots of Moving Parts Life has gotten a lot more complicated than it was a year ago.

Young parents are uncertain over what is best for their school age children. They want their kids educated and back in class with their teachers but they are also concerned over whether getting the kids back together is a health risk.

On the community level, businesses in Boone definitely want to see more customers and are severely missing the purchasing power of 20,000 college students. However, a lot of local residents are apprehensive about bringing back the University students and worry that the relatively COVID-19 numbers for Watauga and Avery Counties will skyrocket.

Like several universities, Appalachian has a very vocal group of football boosters who want College Football to resume and that it should happen right now. There are significant economic factors are in play in college sports and few schools break even on their sports programs. College sports are facing tough times.

Appalachian has been told to expect a 10% reduction in state funding for the entire university. This translates into a $5 million cut in state support for the athletic budget. Three of the menís sports have been terminated and the coaches let go. Cancellation of the scheduled Appstate-Wisconsin football game means that Athletics just went into the hole for another $1.2 million beyond the $5 million budget shortfall previously announced.

On the University-level, Appalachian, just like all the UNC System Schools, will find its revenue stream from housing operations and food services vaporize if students arenít on campus.

Appstate has told students that they should come back for in-class instruction but warned them not to expect refunds for their dorm fees and meal cards if they have to leave campus after the semester starts. This in turn has led students living in apartments to demand that the University somehow make landlords let them out of leases and receive refunds if the students go home should the university revert to on-line instruction.

How many students will show up in August here, or in Charlotte, Cullowhee, Wilmington or elsewhere? Some students are planning to take a year off because of health concerns. Some parents have had difficult talks with the college-age kids that their family income has fallen so much that it would be best to wait on college until the economy comes back. Normally, universities rely on past experience to project what portion of the Freshman class that has been admitted will actually show up when classes start. This year, who knows?

Governments on all levels are experiencing reduced sales tax and income tax collections which is where the funding for schools, universities, health departments, law enforcement and public safety come from.

The old normal is fading as a memory.

73, Marv, WA4NC