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NORTH CAROLINA SECTION NEWS - MAY, 2011

Posted Jun 2, 2011

FIELD DAY IS THREE WEEKS AWAY - And Field Day in North Carolina will be great this year, with your help, for two reasons.

  1. Band conditions have improved dramatically with the sunspot cycle. 6, 10 and 15 meters should be sizzling this year, so go work some DX.
  2. We need to showcase to public officials the importance of Amateur Radio when disasters strike. Recent tornadoes in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Joplin, Missouri underscore the need for back-up communications. In North Carolina, SKYWARN alerted many citizens across the state about potential disaster. Public officials need to be reminded that many of North Carolina's almost 19,000 licensed Hams are always ready to respond. Frequent on-air practice is the recipe for success, and to succeed, we need to remind public officials respectfully that:
    1. There are two 2007 state laws (one city, the other county) which permit reasonable accommodation of antennas to 90 feet in areas without homeowner covenants and restrictions.
    2. That HR607 in its current form proposes to auction off frequencies adjacent to those we use to perform emergency communications. 420-440 MHz is not in the repeater band plan, but is close enough that band plan changes could impact how we respond.
    3. Most importantly, that Amateur Radio is a wholesome hobby with purpose, which promotes fellowship, fun, technical exploration and community service, for all ages.

Most clubs plan to hold their Field Day locations in public places. Be sure to list yours on ARRL's website at http://www.arrl.org/field-day-locator so people can find you. Make sure your location is easy to find by posting signs on roads leading to your location. There are some easy bonus categories from which to earn 100 points per activity. They are:

  1. send out a release to media in your area. It would be nice to get coverage, but submitting a copy with your FD log of the release you sent out will land 100 points;
  2. a public location. Go to a park, a department store parking lot (get permission from the store and landlord), a church, etc. 100 points;
  3. a public information table so people can find out more about Ham Radio. 100 points;
  4. an educational activity. 100 points;
  5. an elected official comes to your FD location. 100 points;
  6. a representative from a served agency visits. 100 points. Plus there are many more bonus point possibilities.

If you need help in crafting a release to send to local media and your club does not have a public information officer (PIO), there are 14 ARRL trained PIOs across North Carolina who can assist you. For the nearest one, go to http://www.ncarrl-pio.org Also, if you're not sure how to invite elected officials to your Field Day, our State Government Liaison (SGL) Dr. Bob Conder, K4RLC, has a sample invitation letter listed on the section website at www.ncarrl.org If you need signage to get people to your location, look at the new ARRL Field Day posters at http://www.arrl.org/shop/Field-Day-2011-Poster-pack-of-25 All the Field Day information you need, including rules, can be found at http://www.arrl.org/field-day

This year my Field Day travels will take me to locations west of I-85, and I look forward to seeing many friends and making new ones as North Carolina has a successful Field Day.

PROGRESS ON HR 607 - Thanks to the hundreds of North Carolina ARRL members who either signed letters are recent hamfests or sent letters on their own to their U.S. House representatives expressing opposition to the auctioning of the 420-440 MHz spectrum. There was a recent report that Hams in the home district of the bill's chief sponsor, Rep. Peter King of Long Island, NY, met with him and that Rep. King said Amateur Radio would be given every consideration. Language to remove Amateur Radio frequencies from the bill, however, has not yet occurred, so pressure needs to continue to be applied. Please consider having sample letters for people to sign at your Field Day locations. Samples can be found at http://www.arrl.org/sample-letters

HURRICANE SEASON - Begins June 1st and many NC Hams and groups are getting ready. Dr. Bill Gray, hurricane expert at Colorado State University, revised his 2011 projections on June 1st to reveal that North Carolina now has an above average chance of a hurricane landfall - 44% vs. the normal 28%. As for the chances for a major hurricane of a Category 3 or higher to 13% probable landfall, up from 8%. Hats off to Anthony Marzano, KB9LNU, who is Brunswick County Emergency Manager and has agreed to serve as county ARES EC. Anthony began as an ARES volunteer in his native Illinois at age 13. Meanwhile, New Hanover Emergency Manager Warren Lee, who is serving as current president of the North Carolina Emergency Managers Association (NCEMA), has briefed President Obama on hurricane disaster recovery. Mr. Lee invited NC Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Tom Brown, N4TAB, to be a speaker about ARES at the state convention of NCEMA earlier this year.

JUNE 18th IN RALEIGH - MAKER FAIRE. Attention kit builders, QRPers and all those who can hold a soldering gun - If you're into these activities, chances are you already know about Maker Faire, the five year old series of regional expositions sponsored by Make magazine. It's like a gigantic hamfest and science fair rolled into one. Its purpose is to encourage homemade experimentation and development of scientific crafts of all types, and typically features events like robotic contests, and solar and foot powered rock concerts. Maker Faires are wildly popular. The original one in San Mateo, California just held its 5th annual exposition and drew 65,000 people. North Carolina's first Maker Faire will be held June 18th at the NC State Fairgrounds from 10 AM to 5 PM. Admission is $4.00 and more information can be found at http://makerfairenc.com Several Triangle area Ham clubs will have booths at the Raleigh Maker Faire, which is expected to draw several thousand people.

NTS REPORTS - April, 2011. QNI (Net Stations Check-in) 3395 (up 20 or 0.06%). Messages passed 514 (down 220 or 30%) STATION ACTIVITY REPORTS (SARs) K4IWW 501 (BPL* level), WK4P 241, KI4YV 208, W4DNA 177, W2EAG 151, W4TTO 55, KC4PGN 33, KE4AHC 32, W3HL 30, WB4Y 29, NC4VA 20, W4AJT 20, KA4IZN 16, K8SKX 14, KD4SM 14. PUBLIC SERVICE HONOR ROLL (PSHR) NC4VA 399, W4DNA 150, K4IWW 130, WK4P 125, W2EAG 110, W4TTO 100, KI4YV 90, K4JUU 87, KA4IZN 56. *- Brass Pounders League (BPL) for those who handle more than 100 messages a month or who earn more than 500 points per month in the National Traffic System (NTS).

ARES - TOTAL MEMBERS 724. 38 of 100 counties reporting. 317 NIMS/ICS accredited members. ATTN: DECs and ECs - if you're not filing your monthly reports, your data is not being included.

SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS - June 4th Badin Bomber Crash 1944, Badin, NC, Montgomery Amateur Radio Society; June 4th -5th Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington as part of Museum Ships weekend. Details: www.ac4rc.org and http://www.nj2bb.org/museum

HAMFESTS - June 11th, Winston-Salem Classic, Summit School Athletic Center, 2100 Reynolda Road, Winston-Salem, 8 AM-2PM, Talk-In 146.64 (PL 100) More information at: http://w4nc.com/hamfestmemberinfo.html June 18th, Down East Hamfest, Lenoir Community College, 231 Highway 58 South, Kinston. Talk-In 146.685 (PL 88.5) More information at: http://www.downeasthamfest.org

PUBLIC SERVICE - June 4 and 5: Tour de Cure bike race, Between Cary and Southern Pines; June 11: 3RingCycle, Pittsboro; June 18: M.S. Fits Ice Cream Ride, Morrisville. Details at: www.hampublicservice.org

SKs - We regret to report the passing of Russell Wilder, KB4BH, of Raleigh.

LAST WORD - Field Day is my favorite event of the year, as it is for many others. It's a chance for us to get back to our roots of being resourceful under simulated adverse conditions. With the exception of World War II when Amateur Radio privileges were suspended, North American Hams have been charging off to remote locations for the past 78 years in pursuit of demonstrating to themselves and others that "When All Else Fails, Amateur Radio is There." This year that phrase takes on even more special meaning. As cell phones and public wireless internet connections proliferate and become more reliable, many citizens question the value of Amateur Radio. It takes tragedies like Tuscaloosa and Joplin, unfortunately, to jar their image of today's commercial networks and their supposed infallibility during disasters. This complacency is spilling over into the legislative and regulatory arena. Staffers in their 20s and 30s with no knowledge of Amateur Radio are whispering into the ears of elected officials that Ham Radio is no longer relevant. Even seasoned North Carolina officials who haven't seen Amateur Radio on their radar screens since the last round of hurricanes are beginning to shake their heads in agreement. We have to reverse that image. This is why Field Day is more important than ever. The public needs to see that Ham Radio is fun, a wholesome hobby, full of sport and competition, and perhaps most importantly: there when other forms of communications evaporate. This year, be sure to invite public officials and policy makers to your Field Day locations. Plan to put them on the air, show them how you can configure radios in emergencies by mode (especially digital) and follow-up with walk away materials such as the excellent ARRL brochure Emergency Radio available at http://www.arrl.org/shop/When-All-Else-Fails-brochure-pack-of-25 Tell elected and public officials, served agency representatives and media to meet at a specific time - such as kick-off at 2 PM - to celebrate the start of Field Day. The rewards you reap could re-establish a better understanding in the mind of the public of who we are and what makes our skills special.

Enjoy Field Day.

73, Bill Morine, N2COP
ARRL North Carolina Section Manager

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