Greetings from Northwestern North Carolina, referred to locally as the High Country.
Each of us knows that North Carolina has several different geographical zones: Coastal Plain; Sandhills; Piedmont; and Mountains. The weather, and to some degree, the climate differs in each zone. My friends in Raleigh and Charlotte tell me that they are already past the Spring blooms; not so up here in the High Country, where Spring is always slow to arrive.
My home is at 3850 feet above sea level and the mountains around here are relatively high. I can see Grandfather Mountain (5945’), Beech Mountain (5506’). Our local repeaters are located on Rich Mountain (4400’). Mount Mitchell tops out at 6684’, the highest peak east of the Mississippi River, but I cannot see it because the local mountains block my view of Mt. Mitchell. Flatlanders may be surprised to know the area that repeaters up here can cover. Mountaintop repeaters often cover up to 100 miles unless blocked by other mountains. The Mount Mitchell repeater on 145.190 can reach parts of seven states (WV, KY, VA, NC, SC, TN, and GA).
So, the mountains are very different than the rest of the state. If you look me up on qrz.com, you can see the view from my deck when the leaves are changing colors in October. In the picture, Boone is down in the valley and Rich Mountain is what you see in the picture. You may be surprised to know that today, on May 1, there are very few leaves that have come out on the trees above 4,000 feet in elevation.
I want to highlight for you some activities that are occurring, despite the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine.
a. Several clubs have invited me to participate in the virtual club meetings. Drop me an email if you would like me to visit with your club over Zoom or WebEx.
b. Likewise, as you plan Field Day, if you have access to video meeting capabilities during Field Day, I will virtually visit with you since it seems unlikely I will be traveling across the state for in-person visits.
c. COVID-19 is affecting planning for upcoming hamfests. As I write this, no decision has been made by the organizers whether to hold or cancel the Salisbury Fire Cracker Hamfest or the Waynesville WCARS Hamfest, both of which are scheduled for July. Once a decision is made information will be sent to you.
d. Net control stations are still need for the Tarheel Emergency Net which meets each night on 3923 KHz at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday is still open as is the position of Net Manager. We are still working on setting up training sessions that will be announced when the details are worked out.
e. Much of the information posted on the NC ARRL webpage (ncarrl.org) had been allowed to become outdated. Susan Langley Jones (WA4AKB) is busy posting the updated information that Tom Brown (N4TAB, SEC) and I are sending to her. Thank you, Susan, for the time you are investing in getting accurate and current information out to the ham community. Thanks also to Tom for his work on updating the ARES® and Auxcomm information. Each of you will soon be able to see the results of their many hours of work.
Speaking of sending you information, I need your help. There are approximately 15,000 licensed amateur radio operators in North Carolina and approximately 4500 of them belong to the ARRL. According to the ARRL information available to me, only 3000 or so have set their ARRL preferences to receive emails sent by the Division Director Bud Hippisley (W2RU) or Vice Director Bill Morine (N2COP) and me. This limits our ability to let you know what is going on and to share information about future events.
Remember, if you have concerns are about proposed changes in Tech privileges, on line license exams, band plans or Field Day and Contest rules and similar topics, those comments should go to Bud and Bill because these are policy questions handled by the ARRL Board of Directors. Operational concerns about publicizing hamfests and club activities, ARES and Auxcomm programs, exemplary operator recognition and similar topics that focus on NC should come to me.
Because some of you may receive this from other sources (such as a club newsletter), please check your ARRL profile (and ask your friends to check theirs). If you log into arrl.org, at the top of the page, you can edit your profile and you can go to “Edit Your Email Preferences”. Choose the option to receive emails from your Division Director and Section Manager. This will expand Bud’s, Bill’s and my ability to get information out to North Carolina amateur radio operators.
In other matters, plans are underway to produce a monthly NC ARRL Newsletter which focuses on the variety of ham activities across the state. If you want to know more about what is going outside your locality, the Newsletter will need contributors. I would like to be able to publish columns about Contesting, SOTA and POTA, Satellites, Mesh net activities, DMR and other topics.
The proposed NC ARRL Newsletter will only be worth the effort YOU put into it to make it interesting. I once worked for a county commissioner who told me that it was a heck of a poor frog that wouldn’t croak about his own pond. Don’t be bashful, brag a little about what you are doing, write up something and we will get it edited, posted and shared with others. Severe weather season is going to be here soon. On the first Monday of each month, Virginia Enzor, NC4VA, gives a presentation focused on weather over the Tarheel Emergency Net on 3923 khz. Tune in because Virginia knows her stuff! NC State University forecasters have predicted 22 named hurricanes for this year, which would make it a very active hurricane season. Are you ready for bad weather? Check your backup power, work on your Go Box station, improve your antenna system and get ready for a busy year.
I am still learning about being Section Manager, like anyone would in a new job. Your comments, complaints and suggestions will help me do my job better..
Hopefully each of us does something this coming week that makes your community and ham radio better because of your efforts.
73 and best wishes,
NC Section Manager