In this issue:
-> THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
-> AFFILIATED CLUB COORDINATOR REPORT
-> THE SECTION EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
-> THE PUBIC INFORMATION COORDINATOR
-> THE SECTION TRAFFIC MANAGER
-> OUT AND ABOUT IN SOUTHEAST OHIO
-> SOUTHWEST OHIO HAPPENINGS
-> FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT LIAISON
-> FROM THE EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH ASM
-> FROM THE SCOUTING ASM
-> LET'S TALK
-> THE OFFICIAL OBSERVER COORDINATOR
-> SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS IN OHIO
-> OHIO HAMFEST CALENDAR
THE TECHNICAL COORDINATOR
Jeff Kopcak - TC
Normally in this space you would find a well put together article written by Jim W8ERW. If you didn’t catch last month’s Ohio Section Journal, Jim is moving on to bigger and better things. That would be Texas. Jim is one of Fort Worth’s newest residents! The fine folks in the North Texas Section have a great guy coming their way. He’s probably enjoying the warm weather down there right now. Congratulations Jim! So ‘why are we seeing this other guy writing in Jim’s place’ you’re probably asking yourself? I don’t know either.
Seriously though, I have to give a lot of credit to my predecessor, Jim – W8ERW and to our Section Manager, Scott – N8SY. These guys are excellent at answering all my questions from my time as a Technical Specialist and transitioning me into the Technical Coordinator position. Thank you.
I look forward to serving the Ohio Section and seeing what you guys have in store. I’ve already received a number of questions on computers, digital modes, and D-STAR. Happy to answer them. My bio is posted on the Ohio Section website if you missed it.
Last month, I gave a presentation on the Raspberry Pi computer at the LEARA meeting in Cleveland. This presentation was an introductory look at the device. It included history, hardware specs, setting up the Pi, and ham radio projects. There was a larger than usual turnout for the meeting and even a few non-hams in attendance. The presentation is available on my website if you would like to take a look. I gave a shortened version at the QCWA Chapter 1 meeting in July. If you missed either meeting, fear not! I am scheduled to be at the GARA (Geauga Co.) club meeting on September 28th as they celebrate 38 years! See you there.
Couple events to note… the Cleveland Hamfest is coming up on September 27th. This is in my backyard so I will be in attendance and hope to meet all of you. You can join the Hamfest Association of Cleveland and help out next year via their website hac.org.
The TAPR Digital Communication Conference is coming up October 9th – 11th near Chicago. Want to go to one of these at some point because it looks like another excellent lineup of forums. Topics include: Digital Voice and Network systems, DATV, Arduino CAT controller for the HPSDR, an Amateur Radio Digital Open Protocol, remote operation of your radio, 3D modeling in Ham Radio, and introductory sessions on a number of topics. ARRL’s own Ward Silver – N0AX is the banquet speaker. Head over to www.tapr.org/dcc.html for the complete schedule and to register.
Thanks to everyone who wrote and congratulated me on my appointment. It really means a lot!
Thank you for reading..
THE AFFILIATED CLUBS COORDINATOR
John Myers, KD8MQ - ACC
Hi everyone, well, fall is coming fast, and will be here before you know it. I’m going to fit in one more weekend of tent camping before the nights get too cold. Then it’s back to the list of To-Do’s that I’ve been putting off this summer.
We always seem to get better attendance for our club meetings when we have a program. No surprise there, right? I’ve spent a few years as program chairman for my local club, so, this month, I’d like to share some thoughts on club programs.
It goes without saying that the task of scheduling programs for club meetings falls on someone’s shoulders. That’s usually the VP, or the secretary, or maybe even a Program Chairman. Regardless of how you handle it, this is a really important job. But, being responsible for lining up programs for a club meeting isn’t has terrifying as it may seem. I’ll go out on a limb here, and say that it’s easier now than it’s ever been. A lot of the work involves keeping your eyes open for new opportunities. They are literally all around us. Here are some suggestions for gathering ideas for your upcoming club programs.
Ask Your Members – I’m not sure why it is, but I hate surveys. I would rather endure a root canal than to fill out a survey form. I suspect I’m not the only one. I’ve tried posting surveys in our club newsletter with dismal results. But, last winter, at a club meeting, I passed around a clipboard for people to write down suggestions for programs they’d like to see. I didn’t ask them to volunteer to host a program. Just give ideas. Boy, did we get responses. Our members had a lot of great suggestions.
Ask other Hams – Sadly, one of my best resources for finding people to present club programs became SK almost two years ago. It seemed that Gay, WB8VNO knew everyone. All I’d need to do was call her, and say hey, do you know someone who could do a program on this or that. She always had an answer. Perhaps you have someone like that in your circle of friends. If so, count yourself blessed!
Newsletters / websites – If you aren’t already making an effort to keep up with what other clubs are doing, then perhaps you should. Notice I didn’t say Amateur Radio clubs? Suppose you see something interesting that the local Lions (or Rotary, or Band Boosters, or whatever) club are doing. Ask yourself how that would play to an audience of Amateur Radio operators.
These days, with so many clubs & organizations posting newsletters online, or to blogs, the ideas are out there on the web. With a little online research you can generate a list of possible club programs pretty easily. There’s nothing wrong with calling Joe Ham, mentioning the program he just did for another club, and requesting that they do the same for you. More often than not, they will say yes.
ARRL PR List – If you or your clubs PIO (Public Information Officer) are not subscribed to the ARRL PR List, it may be a good idea to join. I can’t begin to count the number of great ideas I’ve gleaned from this list. You can sign up at https://reflector.arrl.org/mailman/listinfo/pr.
You Tube - My goal is a program for each month’s meeting. Some months are easier to fill than others. If you are up against the wall for a program once in a while (or if someone cancels on you), don’t be afraid to choose a video from the “You Tube Library”. YouTube is a Godsend for program chairpersons. I’m not suggesting that you dive into the YouTube pool each month, but once in a while we all need have to come up with a club program on the fly.
If you have no internet access at your meeting location, just download a YouTube video using a program such as YouTube downloader.
ARRL Online Library - I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the ARRL Library as a resource for club programs. The library is a “repository of educational presentations & oral histories”, to quote the league. It’s chock full of PowerPoints, PDFs, and Oral Histories. You can also upload your presentations to share with others. You can find it at www.arrl.org/library.
Tune in next month for some dos & don’t for speakers, and program chairpersons.
I’d like to hear any comments you may have on the subject. You can contact me at email@example.com.
Moving on to the next subject, a special mailing will be sent out in the near future to all Special Service Clubs. So, please take a moment to check your club address in the ARRL Database. If corrections need to be made, you can do them online as usual. Thanks to the efforts of Dale, WA8EFK, and Scott, N8SY, the club update page has been modified. Changes that you submit to your club record take effect instantly. Make sure to Thank Dale & Scott when you see them.
Dave Sumner, CEO, and Secretary of the ARRL visited Ohio this month. On Sunday, the 13th, he worked the ARRL table at the Findlay Hamfest, then the next day visited with NE Ohio Hams at the Portage County ARS (PCARS) meeting. We’d like to send a big thank you to Dave for taking time out of his busy schedule to visit us in Ohio. Video of his presentation to PCARS can be found on their YouTube channel. You can view the video at http://tinyurl.com/pnjapml.
And with that, I’ll tie the ribbons on it for another month.
73 everyone, see you next month. DE KD8MQ
THE SECTION EMERGENCY COORDINATOR
Stan Broadway, N8BHL
What do we face if the lights go out?
The most stunning topic on the list of “What if’s” is the loss of the relatively fragile and defenseless North American power grids. Back in 2013, a federal GridEx II exercise envisioned terrorists staging a combination of cyberattacks aimed at the grid. US utilities were even then under constant cyber attack. And it can happen - in 2010 a piece of malware called Stuxnet destroyed as many as 1,000 centrifuges in an Iranian nuclear plant. In California, attackers disabled a major power transformer merely by shooting into it. Was that a practice run?? That prompted a study by FERC in 2013 about the physical risks of electric plants. The results, published in 2014, were astonishing: disabling 9 of an estimated 55 thousand high voltage transformers could plunge the continent into darkness lasting for as long as 18 months. This is not “Prepper” rhetoric, this is a confirmed possibility.
One of the justifications we like to use at antenna hearings is “This ham in your neighborhood would keep you in touch with the rest of the world.” Well, this might just be the scenario under such conditions. The complete loss of power would bring us into a crisis like no other. The nature of ham radio operators and the resources of ARES would be put to the ultimate test! So we’re jumping into that realm with both feet! Let’s practice!
The Ohio Simulated Emergency Test (SET) will be held October 3. We have set several goals.
First, like last year, we want to practice alerting and activating our volunteers, checking into the county net and deploying to critical spots around the county.
Second, we want to deal with a “grid – down” power outage. Because a loss of power affects ALL walks of life, you can easily see how this would become an “All Hands” operation! EC’s – be encouraged to continue or expand our scenario as it might directly affect your county! We will be preparing a more detailed document with exercise injects and traffic/message requirements. As much as possible we must test and develop our digital capabilities- so get trained up in fldigi!
Think about all the different requests you may receive in such an incident and what it could grow into. We want to generate traffic and messages (inter-agency and those directed at “The Sarge”.) The exercise will be directed by our DEC’s, who will have prepared injects to be fed into your activities. At the hub of our “distributed Sim Cell” is “The Sarge” where the SEC will also be supplying injects. We want lots of message traffic, and lots of people to be involved! If we do this right, it will become a real challenge- hopefully, one that stretches our ability to cope and handle a large situation.
EC Training announced
With 1700 members in Ohio, any organization can be expected to grow and change. Since January, we have had a number of EC’s retire. Most have already recommended replacements, and they have been announced. While there is a well-written “EC Manual” the responsibilities and daily duties of an EC can be demanding. Ohio ARES has reserved OCTOBER 10 at the Franklin County EMA (5300 Strawberry Farms Blvd, Columbus, 43230 – it’s near to the S.R. 161 / I-270 intersection on the northeast side of Columbus) for a day long training session that should be of great interest to new EC’s, DEC’s and AEC’s.
We’re still working on the course sequence, but we’ll begin with “What have I done?” to look at the paperwork and duties associated with this important position. Then, we’ll go into emergency planning and preparation- developing a communications plan, developing your people, and developing exercises. We’ll have some of the top people in Ohio ARES sharing their years of knowledge!
This is NOT another fall conference; it’s aimed specifically at training new members of the management team. If you assumed your position from January forward, you NEED to mark this date and attend. To accommodate travel, the class will be held from 10AM – 4PM on that Saturday. I am truly excited about the value of this class. If you want to attend, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Congratulations to Hamilton County ARES, for flawlessly carrying out their activation to screen for toxic plumes along feeders to the Ohio River. Their work helped protect Cincinnati’s “Riverfest” activities. This, too, was an example of cooperation with Kentucky’s ARES section continually in the loop. Well done!
73, Stan, N8BHL
THE PUBLIC INFORMATION COORDINATOR
John Ross, KD8IDJ
Sign Your Hobby!
Sometimes the simplest things can gain the most attention.
On my personal email and even my work email...right after my name...I've added my call sign.
Almost every day it generates questions and comments. Usually, it's "Are you a ham?" Now, the door is open to talk about our hobby and all of the great things we do.
Often I get, "I used to be a ham" or "My dad was ham." Again, a great opportunity to explain the new license requirements, on-line study help, and testing procedures. I think I've helped about a dozen former hams re-up and get back on the air!
Give it a try and see if you can open some doors.
Taken To The Woodshed!
A month ago my computer screen almost melted when I opened an email from an, apparently, avid reader of my PIC column!
He took me to task about seeming to favor older hams!! He said the youth, the younger generation are more important now...and said I must not be reading the paper or watching the TV.
Well, as I read on I realized it was all in jest. He was happy I was talking about opportunities for older hams and then highly suggested I keep doing what I'm doing! The next day he even sent an apology in case I didn't see the humor.
When I quit laughing...I realized he was right! I really do need to get with the program and find equal opportunities to talk to young folks about amateur radio.
So, to that end, I made a few phone calls to my school system, church and some considerably younger people...asking for a chance to visit a science class, youth meeting or whatever kind of activity the kids today do to tell them about amateur radio. I've made a couple of contacts already...hopefully a couple of recruits...and the schools are trying to work me in.
Maybe we all should be doing that...maybe we are and I've missed it...but I now have another reason to appreciate amateur radio. You are never too old to learn...even if it takes a Senior Elmer to read you the riot act!!!
Seriously, my thanks to Evan K9SQG for the great suggestions. And, Evan...you had better have a bunch of kids hanging around you when we meet!!!!!
My local weather watch net here in central Ohio is about to end its weekly drills for the year and I'm sure other weather nets are about to do the same.
Weather watching seems to be a hallmark of amateur radio and the folks to run the nets do a great job. The net operators are to be congratulated for being ready when the watches and warnings are issued and for giving their time to make sure we all are informed and are in a position to help if necessary.
The information on the net is invaluable and better than a horde, or is it a gaggle, of TV meteorologists!! Thanks folks from all us who depend on your training and expertise.
KUDOS TO CANTON
The Canton Amateur Radio Club received a nice letter from the Department of the Army thanking them for participating in their family day this summer.
The club set up table with literature and information about amateur radio. Club members were there to answer questions and demonstrate first-hand the operation of ham radio.
Just for the record, I, too, received a nice letter from the Department of the Army back 1970. It was an "invitation" to join them for an all-expense paid trip overseas! The gig last six years and, yes it was all FREE!!!
That's all for this month...
73, John, KD8IDJ
THE SECTION TRAFFIC MANAGER
David Maynard, WA3EZN - STM
I intended to work some stations in the Ohio QSO Party but found the bands in deplorable shape when I had time to work some stations. I heard from other stations that they found the bands in bad shape also and they were only able to work a few stations.
Band conditions have been bad all month and the traffic nets on HF are having problems passing traffic. I try to check into the Eighth Regions Net when I can and was trying to do so when slightly off the expected frequency was a very loud net. Thinking this was the Eighth Region net I tuned in and listened for an opportunity to check in. I was surprised when the net was identified as the Fourth Region Traffic Net. Most of the stations on the net were louder than any other signal on the 40 meter band at that time. Go figure!!
SIMULATED EMERGENCY TEST
Some of this information is from www.arrl.org. It and more information is available on the www.arrl.org website. It is duplicated here because there is no need to rewrite perfection. Search SET for more information and forms to report your SET activity.
The ARRL Simulated Emergency Test is a nationwide exercise in emergency communications, administered by ARRL Field Organization Leaders including Emergency Coordinators, District Emergency Coordinators, Section Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers. Many other Section Leaders like the Section Manager and the Section Traffic Manager may have a hand in planning the exercises and/or reviewing the results.
Amateur Radio Emergency Service ® (ARES®), National Traffic System (NTS), Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) CERTS and other public-service oriented groups can be involved. The SET weekend gives communicators the opportunity to focus on the emergency-communications capability within the community while interacting with NTS nets. In Ohio the Simulated Emergency Test is held the first week in October, that being October 3 and 4 this year. It is important that all amateurs participate and show just how great the hams are in Ohio.
The purpose of SET is to find out the strengths and weaknesses of ARES, NTS, RACES and other groups in providing emergency communications. It also should provide a public demonstration to served agencies such as the American Red Cross, the emergency management agency and through the news media of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need. To help radio amateurs gain experience in communications using standard procedures and a variety of modes under simulated-emergency conditions.
How to Join the SET
To participate in this year’s emergency test, contact your local ARRL emergency coordinator or net manager to find out the details. If you don’t know who to call, please touch base with your ARRL Section Manager (N8SY), Your Section Emergency Coordinator (N8BHL) or this year’s SET coordinator KD8TTE in Bexley for assistance. Here are some net managers you might also contact for more information.
Ohio HF Traffic Nets
BN(E) Buckeye Net Early – CW – N9AUG NET MANAGER
BN(L) Buckeye Net Late – CW – WB9LBI NET MANAGER
OSN Ohio Slow Net – CW – W8OLO NET MANAGER
OSSBN Ohio Single Sideband Net – Phone – KC8WH NET MANAGER
Ohio VHF Traffic Nets
BRTN Burning River Traffic Net serving Cleveland and North Central Ohio
W8DJG NET MANAGER
COTN Central Ohio Traffic Net serving Columbus and Central Ohio
W8ARR NET MANAGER
MVTN Miami Valley Traffic Net serving the Dayton area
KC8HTP NET MANAGER
NWOH ARES Northwest Ohio ARES Net
N8TNV NET MANAGER
TATN Tri-State Amateur Traffic Net
WG8Z NET MANAGER
TCTTN Tri-County Traffic and Training Net serving Lake, Geauga, Ashtabula and Surrounding Counties KI8U NET MANAGER
See page 16 of QST for contact information or check the ARRL Web page. The URL to start with is http://www.arrl.org/sections/ . From there, you’ll find links to ARRL section home pages with names and contact information for your Section Leaders including the Section Emergency Coordinator and Section Traffic Manager along with contact information for other ARRL sections that you may want to exchange radiogram with. Whether you’re a new licensee or an experienced radio amateur, the SET is a golden opportunity to learn or practice useful skills in traffic handling, net operation and emergency communications protocols and management. You will never know when something is going to happen and your family, neighbors and community will look to you and your amateur radio skills for assistance.
Each net and section is to report their activity to the ARRL using forms on the ARRL website. The activity reports will be analyzed and a report will be issued later as sort of a grade for each section. You are encouraged to consider participating in this year’s Simulated Emergency Test and to prepare for it as a demonstration of Amateur Radio’s readiness and as an active participant in national preparedness. If you are at all cognoscente of what is in the news you will already know how possible it is to have a wide spread disaster.
To give you a head start here is some sample radiogram text to show you what type of radiogram you can send during SET if not directly involved in an ARES sinero. First some fun ones you can send.
NR 73 ROUTINE (YOUR CALL) 9 ANYTOWN OH OCT 2
ANY HAM OPERATOR
SENDING MESSAGES TO OTHERS BY
RADIOGRAMS IS A FUN ACTIVITY
(YOUR NAME AND CALL)
NR 1 ROUTINE (YOUR CALL) 10 (YOUR CITY AND STATE) (DATE ei: OCT 2)
CITY STATE ZIP
PLEASE SEND ME A RADIOGRAM
DURING SIMULATED EMERGENCY TEST 73
(YOUR NAME AND CALL)
NR 2 ROUTINE (YOUR CALL) 13 (YOUR CITY AND STATE) (DATE ei: OCT 2)
CITY STATE ZIP
AM PARTICIPATING IN A SIMULATER
EMERGENCY TEST BY SENDING YOU
THIS RADIOGRAM 73
(YOUR NAME AND CALL)
If you make them sound like a real emergency during SET the text must start with the words TEST MESSAGE so we don’t cause unnecessary alarm by individuals who may intercept your practice radiograms.
NR 2 ROUTINE (YOUR CALL) 16 (YOUR LOCATION) OCT 2
CITY STATE ZIP
TEST MESSAGE CAN YOU SEND
RELIEF OPERATOR TO STAGING AREA
QUERY IF SO PLEASE ADVISE
AMATEUR RADIO VOLUNTEER
NR 88 ROUTINE (YOUR CALL) 14 (YOUR LOCATION) OCT 3
CITY STATE ZIP
TEST MESSAGE SEND GENERATOR TO
SHELTER ADAM X POWER FAILURE
AND ICE CREAM MELTING
(YOUR NAME AND CALL)
NR 73 TEST PRIORTY (YOUR CALL) 11 (YOUR LOCATION) OCT 2
CITY STATE ZIP
TEST MESSAGE NEED MORE COTS
AND SANITATION KITS AT SHELTER
(YOUR NAME AND CALL)
Chip in and help Ohio Section have a successful SET. Send some radiograms, have some fun and above all learn how to help if there ever is an emergency.
Thats all for now,
73 and 88 if appropriate, David, WA3EZN
OUT AND ABOUT IN SOUTHEAST OHIO
Lyn Alfman, N8IMW - Assistant Section Manager (SE)
I had carpal tunnel surgery on my left wrist on August 5, which is healing nicely. Now I have some feeling in my thumb and the two adjacent fingers that had not been there for four months! Even so, this has been a busy month for me.
I attended the following meetings or took part in these activities:
Cambridge Amateur Radio Association (CARA) business meeting
Cambridge Amateur Radio Association’s officers’ meeting
Zanesville Amateur Radio Club (ZARC) business meeting
Muskingum County A.R.E.S. meeting and training session
Guernsey County A.R.E.S. meeting and training session
Guernsey County Long Term Recovery Committee (GCLTRC) business meeting
Various CARA committee meetings & CARA Net Control Station
ZOVETS VE amateur radio exam session
Adopt-A-Highway cleanup #3 of the year
Ohio QSO Party—Muskingum County
CARA covered-dish picnic and fox hunt
Submitted August Safety Tip article to newspaper
Submitted Special Service Club article to newspaper
Submitted CARA Club Notes to newspaper
Submitted meeting announcements to newspaper, radio, and respective web sites
Published, sent out, and posted to web site (Members-no password) fall issue of the CARA Communicator
Took pictures, wrote article on moving historic building, and submitted it to newspaper
On August 31, after raising money to move the Waller-McMunn radio station that we inherited, it finally happened. The building is at its new home and awaiting some TLC—exterior paint job, a set of steps and/or ramp, a thorough cleaning of the interior, and a new plaque or two. We hope to have a Special Event Station from the historic Waller-McMunn radio station building later this fall.
Currently we, CARA members, are entering the home stretch on the publication of our centennial book celebrating our 100 years in 2013. We hope to have the final copy available for purchase by mid November. Several of us are presently proofreading and editing what we hope will be the final proof.
September finds CARA members preparing for the Ohio State Parks on the Air Contest. We will be operating from Blue Rock State Park this year. Also, the day after the contest, we will be setting up our booth at the Guernsey County Fair, which runs from September 14 -19.
On October 10, we will be operating a Special Event Station, W8Y, from Putnam Hill Park overlooking the historic Y-Bridge in Zanesville. See the ARRL website and/or the October QST for details. On October 24, CARA members will take a Field Trip to the Museum of Radio and Technology in Huntington, WV.
Of course, I should mention that several amateur radio operators in the area meet for lunch each Thursday. Check the calendar on our web site www.w8vp.org for details, and come join us!
Remember to be Radio Active!
That’s going to do it for this month..
73, Lyn, N8IMW
SOUTHWEST OHIO HAPPENINGS
From: Kitty Hevener, W8TDA - Assistant Section Manager (SW)
Congratulations to OH-KY-IN member and direction finding guru, Dick Arnett, WB4SUV. In recognition of his enthusiasm and skill in Elmering those interested in direction finding, I had the honor of presenting Dick with the ARRL Elmer award at the August OH-KY-IN meeting. From firsthand experience, I can tell you that he goes the extra mile by loaning equipment to those interested and adapting the techniques and hunt itself to the unique needs of participants.
Does your club have equipment for your members to use for its activities? How about your served agencies? At least one of my clubs does and some of the served agencies in this area do as well. Whether you are purchasing new or upgrading existing equipment, I encourage you to use the principle of universal design in deciding what to buy. The following article, taken from “Handi-Ham World” (March 8 2015), explains the concept and discusses how implementing it benefits your club and served agencies, especially during emergencies.
Ask ten Amateur Radio operators what their preference is in radio equipment, and you will probably get ten different opinions. There will be discussions about what type of operating the equipment will support, about whether mobile or portable operations will be involved, what kinds of antennas will be used, and on and on. Amateur Radio is, after all, a BIG tent!
There really can be no one right answer until we narrow our search. A radio that can be used by a blind operator, one that includes all-mode operation on the VHF bands, something that can fit into an automobile, affordability... You get the idea. The question "Which radio is best?" doesn't make any sense without that kind of context.
At the Handi-ham Program we have always been about accessibility of equipment for use by operators with disabilities. Over the years many volunteers in the program have creatively modified radio gear to make it easier to use. Whether it was placing tactile markers on a mechanical frequency dial or adding extensions to knobs to provide more leverage to click through the band-switch positions, these mods were unique and designed to help each operator based on special needs.
Today's radios are different; way different. They are smaller, more efficient, more stable, and operate more modes. They are user-configurable, too. Most can be operated by that ubiquitous ham shack accessory, the personal computer or whatever similar device we can interface to a radio. There is no longer a need to attach a wooden clothespin to a band switching knob. The band switch doesn't even exist anymore in the world of direct frequency entry and multifunction keypads. Memories hold band and mode information anyway, and today's equipment usually offers several different ways to get to where you want to be.
Modern transceivers sometimes elicit comments from old-timers about excessive complexity and how simple the radios of yesterday were to learn and operate. And it's true - sort of. The old gear didn't have multifunction controls with layers of menus lying in wait beneath them. On the other hand, the old radios didn't do as much as the new ones and what they did do wasn't always done well. I remember final amplifier tubes that melted from too much key down time during tune up. Some radios of the era drifted. One triband HF rig was said - and not without reason - to drift "like a rowboat in a hurricane". Reliability was problematic by today's standards. But what made those old rigs easy to use was their straightforward, simple front panel controls. You can't go wrong with intuitive, simple, easy to understand front panel layout. Is it possible to duplicate that kind of simplicity and ergonomic efficiency in a modern transceiver with all of its extra functions and capabilities?
Well, maybe. And if it's possible, that is certainly a good thing for people with disabilities. It turns out that what is good for them is good for everyone else too, since having equipment with intuitive controls that are easy to use is good universal design. Anyone appreciates buttons that are big enough to select without pressing the neighboring buttons. Who wouldn't want controls that are familiar enough to be easy to learn, especially in an emergency? All of us like easy to read frequency displays. With that in mind, here is our top 10 list of things to look for in transceiver accessibility:
1. Simple front panel with large tactile buttons and easy to grasp rotary controls for commonly-used functions. These include VFO, passband tuning, audio gain, and memory channels, among others.
2. A direct-entry frequency keypad laid out in the same pattern as a standard telephone keypad. We all know how to make a phone call with a keypad. The familiar 3 by 3 number pad with the 0 in the fourth row between a star and a pound key allows us to make calls without having to study the keypad or fumbling around to find the correct digits.
3. Menus that push common functions to the front and lesser-accessed ones to the back. This allows the front panel to be simple and uncluttered, but it is only going to be easy to use if the things you actually want on a daily basis are the ones on the top - the first button push, not buried in a menu system. To understand why this is important, think about the fridge, pantry, and cabinets in your kitchen. In a sense, kitchen storage is like a layered menu system in a radio. You need some common food items every day or at least several times a week. These might include salt and pepper, cooking oil, bread, milk, coffee, tea, and fresh fruit. It makes sense to have these things at the front where they are easily reached because you use them often. The pasta can be on a back shelf with the flour, but not as far back as other foodstuffs or ingredients that will only be used on a monthly basis. You want your radio's menu to be the same way; it needs to have the functions you need often near the front. Thus, you will want the mode switch to be easy to find while the CW speed control and microphone gain controls can be in the menu system "on the back shelf" so to speak.
4. A large easy to read frequency display with speech frequency readout. The radio needs to give the operator this information efficiently. If you buy a radio with a tiny hard to see display, it will never cease to remind you of this mistake whenever conditions are not absolutely ideal. Some radios include speech frequency readout built in while others have this feature available as an option.
5. A front panel headphone jack. This feature will be used often because conditions will change and you will want to switch between the built-in speaker and headphones. You might as well have the headphone jack handy.
6. A USB interface. This allows you to make an easy connection to a rig control computer with only one cable and a USB driver from the radio's manufacturer. It bypasses complicated wiring for microphone connectors and audio interfaces if you want to control the radio remotely via the internet.
7. A good receiver section. You might think this goes without saying, but having a good receiver makes a big difference in overall usability of a transceiver. Some are better than others, so check the reviews and shop accordingly. As the old saying goes, "You can't work them if you can't hear them." Make sure that the received signal controls you will use most often are easily accessed. Shaping the IF response is often beneficial, so it should be readily accomplished without jumping through a bunch of menus. Similarly, filter bandwidths should be easy to change.
8. 100 watt transmitter capability. You can argue with me about this one, but there will be times when QRP power levels are just not enough. You can always set the power level below 100!
9. A quiet but effective cooling system. This is sometimes overlooked altogether, but do you really want to have to listen to a noisy cooling fan while you are trying to pick out weak signals? The system should be whisper-quiet and the radio should not run hot.
10. And the final feature? This is the one that only you can answer. It may be affordability. It could be portability. Over the years I've heard laments from people who have bought big, heavy radios only to find themselves on the go and wishing for something lighter and smaller. Others paid too much and got features they never used.
Yes, a new transceiver can be really pretty darned accessible to people with disabilities right out of the box. Just pay attention to the basics of good design and ergonomics when you go shopping! If you don't have a disability, you will still benefit by an easy to operate radio.
73, Kitty, W8TDA
FROM THE STATE GOVERNMENT LIAISON
By: Nick Pittner, K8NAP - SGL
Many of you have heard about the efforts by ARRL to obtain passage of federal legislation to get relief from the antenna restrictions imposed by private land use restrictions, such as condominium restrictions, homeowner’s associations, neighborhood agreements and deed restrictions. While the current FCC regulation, PRB-1 requires “reasonable accommodation” for amateur radio antennas with respect to zoning regulations, no similar requirement currently exists with respect to other kinds of limitations. The FCC has, thus far, declined to extend PRB-1 to include land use restrictions that arise from sources other than zoning. Likewise, Ohio’s amateur antenna legislation, H.B. 158 also addresses only zoning restrictions.
The distinction between zoning and other kinds of land use limitations has been based on the view that the land use limitations arise by contract as opposed to those limitations imposed by either state law or local zoning regulation. The “contract” rationale is based on the premise that the buyer of real estate encumbered by antenna restrictions agrees to the restrictions when the property is purchased. In practice, however, the expanding use of such restrictions leaves little choice for many Hams but to agree with the limitations and try “stealth” or flagpole antennas.
At the urging of the ARRL, legislation is now pending in both houses of Congress seeking to address this problem: with the House version designated as HR 1301 and the Senate version S 1685. Both are titled the “Amateur Radio Parity Act” and the working language of both bills states:
“Not later than 120 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, the Federal Communication Commission shall amend section 97.15(b) of title 47, Code of Federal Regulations so that such section prohibits the application to amateur service communication of any private land use restriction, including a restrictive covenant, that –
(1) Precludes such communications;
(2) Fails to reasonably accommodate such communications; or
(3) Does not constitute the minimum practicable restriction on such communications to accomplish the legitimate purpose of the private entity seeking to enforce such restriction.”
While the notion of federal legislation limiting contractual restrictions on the use of land may seem extreme to some, history has seen the elimination of a vast array of deed restrictions some of which, for example, prohibited the sale of land to African-Americans. More recently and as the result of federal legislation, the right to use direct satellite tv dishes and customer-end broad band wireless antennas have trumped land use restrictions to the contrary. So it’s not unheard of to require accommodation for amateur radio antennas as well.
Now, just a little bit of opinion. First, I think the League’s got it right. Antenna restrictions are a national problem and Congress is the right place to fix the problem. Second, the League’s effort deserves the support of all amateurs. It’s not an overstatement to say that land use restrictions are, for many, vastly limiting the ability to use and enjoy our hobby. In addition, land use limitations are costing the general public a great deal of the emergency communication capability that amateur radio could otherwise promise. Whether directly or indirectly, we are all adversely affected by these regulations and the League’s effort calls for the full-fledged support of all US amateurs.
If the Parity Act passes, as I sincerely hope it will, we may well need to be ready for what could be a very expansive battle with those who would test it in court. Freedom of contract is another side of the issue and those who would seek to challenge the Act would likely want to raise that issue by way of court challenge. The claim would be that the new law impermissibly changes the terms of the contract between the radio amateur land-owner and the Homeowners Association, or Condominium Association. Again, we could well be called upon to support the fight because a loss would be unthinkable.
With that in mind, if any of you are, or know of Hams who are also attorneys who might be interested in joining an Ohio-based legal support group similar to the ARRL volunteer counsel program, please let me know. Thanks..
73, Nick, K8NAP
FROM THE EDUCATIONAL OUTREACH ASM
Anthony Luscre, K8ZT
Show, Tell, Hear & Do!
This month, I want to talk a little about demonstrating Amateur Radio to students, with tips and hints thrown in that also apply to the general public.
Here are a few tips from past experiences
> Find a cooperative host and a location for demonstration
> Walk by traffic and visibility are keys
> A club banner or attractive sign explaining the operation
> Dress appropriately (leave the crazy hats, like mine, T-shirt, etc. at home)
> Wear a Callsign Name tag
> Make sure all of your setup is safe- both physically and electrically
> Be patient and pleasant. Be ready to answer questions in terms a non-ham would understand.
> If you will be outside make appropriate plans for sun shade or rain shelter
> Don’t put all of your eggs in one basket!
> Have a variety of “things” to show & do. Nothing is worse than having a setup to demonstrate radio and the bands do not cooperate!
> Here is a site you might find interesting on band conditions- http://bandconditions.com/index.htm.
> It never hurts to have a “plant”, a fellow ham at their home station that you can resort to if band conditions do not collaborate. They also know what you want to demonstrate and can be counted on versus the unpredictability of a random QSO.
> It is always great to have a partner or few, so you can set up “centers” for visitors to rotate through
> An Operating Radio Station
> Show & Tell
> CW Keys and code practice oscillators (plus paper handout with visual code decoders, both “code trees” for receivers and letter lists for senders. See https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/1/19/Morse-code-tree.svg and https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/b/b5/International_Morse_Code.svg/450px-International_Morse_Code.svg.png. I know these are not the best ways to actually learn the code but that is not the goal here.) Adding lights (LEDs) to the CPOs adds an additional visual stimulus. Kids love this hands on activity!
> Simple radio directional finders and a hidden transmitter on the grounds
> Demonstrating Radio QSOs
> Plan and test setup before the event!
> Be able to demonstrate a variety of operating modes.
> Hearing voice and CW is good but actually seeing translated CW, RTTY, PSK, etc. on a computer screen provide a variety of interesting visuals.
> Be patient and answer questions
> Engage viewers by asking them questions
> If possible give them a chance to be third-party-operators
> Find a patient operator on the other end
> Make sure you have a strong, sure path for communication
> Ask them if they are willing to cooperate
> Explain who the group is and what you are doing
> On your end
> Explain ahead of time what they should expect to hear
> Phonetic Alphabet
> Signal Reports
> Abbreviations/Slang (ham speak)
> Explain speaking clearly, timing, etc.
> Practice what they will say off air ahead of time
> Show & Tell is always popular, if the items are interesting. I suggest
> A collection with a variety of QSL Cards and a map or globe to point out source of each
> Examples of radios (small QRP radios or Go-Kits are always popular)
> Videos including the ARRL series “Promotional Videos for Ham Radio”- http://www.arrl.org/video-psas
> Variable tone oscillator
> Breadboarded circuits
> A Make It Center (visitors “build or assemble something”, either to take home or to remain part of display)
> Take home “souvenirs”
> ARRL Brochures on Amateur Radio- https://www.arrl.org/shop/Brochures-Handouts-and-Exhibit-Supplies/?sort=price&sort_direction=0
> Zak & Max Comic Books from Icom (a big thank you to Icom!)-
> Printed Copies to view (or if feasible copies to take home)
> Links to the entire series of Zak & Max Comic Books online- http://www.icomamerica.com/en/amateur/comic_book (this would be a good item to include in a one or two page take home brochure, see below)
> A personal or club QSL card
> A customized one or two page take-home brochure highlighting your club, local licensing classes & tests, club meetings, website links (consider building a web page on your club or individual site filled with information for beginners.
Here is an example of my site for students and teachers- http://techweb.apps.sparcc.org/radio-day).
73, Anthony, K8ZT
FROM THE SCOUTING ASM
Scott Hixon, KC8ITN
When Scouts want to meet young people from another country, they usually think of attending a World Jamboree. But few people realize that each year more than a million Scouts and Guides "get together" over the airwaves for the annual Jamboree-on-the-Air (JOTA). During the 2014 event, worldwide Scouting participation included 1.1 million Boy Scouts and 200,000 Girl Guides/Girl Scouts, for a total participation of over 1.3 million--the largest Scouting event in the world.
Modern technology offers Scouts the exciting opportunity to make friends in other countries without leaving home. JOTA is an annual event in which Boy and Girl Scouts and Guides from all over the world speak to each other by means of Amateur (ham) Radio. Scouting experiences are exchanged and ideas are shared via radio waves. Since 1958 when the first Jamboree-on-the-Air was held, millions of Scouts have met each other through this event. Many contacts made during JOTA have resulted in pen pals and links between Scout troops that have lasted many years. With no restrictions on age or on the number of participants, and at little or no expense, JOTA allows Scouts to contact each other by ham radio. The radio stations are operated by licensed amateur radio operators. Many Scouts and leaders hold licenses and have their own stations, but the majority participate in JOTA through stations operated by local radio clubs and individual radio amateurs. Some operators use television or computer-linked communications.
This year’s event (the 58th annual!!) will be held October 16-18, 2015. There are no specific times so you have anytime during the whole weekend to participate! And if are unable to get together with some scouts for JOTA, get on the air anyhow. You can still participate by being the person on the other end that the scouts can talk to!
For information on BSA councils or districts in your area, go to: www.scouting.org.
(Some of this article was taken from the ARRL website)
Remember: Be safe, take care, and make a difference in someone’s life!!
73, Scott, KC8ITN
Scott Yonally, N8SY - Section Manager
Wow, fall has arrived!!! Friday nights under the lights, pumpkins, apples and the like are now in season. This has been one of the busiest summers that I can ever remember. I’ve traveled all over the state visiting with all of you at your hamfests, club meetings, picnics and breakfast’s. It’s been fantastic! I’ve enjoyed every minute of it! And, YES, this newsletter is late this month simply because I ran out of time to get it to press before I came to Newington for training. Yup.. I spent 5 grueling days in classes. I did get to operate W1AW several times however, but heard no one from Ohio on.. Oh well.. Better luck next time!
As many of you have noted in your newsletters, I’m making a very conscience effort to get to as many club functions and meetings as I can all around the state. As you know, the Ohio Section is the largest Section in the country. It’s even bigger than a Division or two. So, with that in mind, it’s only fair to say that Ohio also deserves to have a full time Section Manager. So, don’t be surprised when I just “pop-in” at your meeting or function.
I have another 3 Boy Scout troupes to visit this next month.. Oh, be the way, we now have several new hams from the Boy Scouts I was telling you about last month. I am now waiting for them to get their call letters so that I can be their “First Contact”.
Now, if you’ve never visited a Boy Scout Troupe meeting I would encourage you to do so. It’s a lot of fun and wow.. are these kids ever bright! I am working on scheduling more visits with the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, and YES, even the Girl Scouts this next coming fall/winter. There’s a lot of potential there that needs tapped for sure.
CLUB LEADERSHIP.. You need to make sure that your club is involved with youth groups. Make sure that you have a contact with the local Boy Scouts / Girl Scouts as well as a teacher or teachers from the middle schools involved with your club.. Don’t forget, the youth of today will be taking over this great “hobby” of ours, but not without your support and willingness to bring them along. These kids are out there, YOU just need to take the first step forward and approach them on it.
I’m finding that the reason for a lot of clubs being behind on their club record updates to not only the League, but also to the State of Ohio and the Internal Revenue Service (for those who are 501 (c) (3) organizations) is primarily because the newly elected club president wasn’t informed that this was something needed to be done. Let me make a suggestion here.. Put a paragraph or two into your by-laws that state ALL club records are to be reviewed at least once each year, and definitely when a new president takes over. This will help not only the president, but the club members as well. Everyone looking out to see that the club records have been updated is a good thing. You might also want to make sure that it states somewhere who’s supposed to be responsible for making sure that the records are completed as well. This way everyone knows who is responsible for what.
Are you getting those emails from the Great Lakes Director or Section Manager? Now, for those of you who may not want to go to all the bother of checking your account with the League, or you are just not League members, you still have a chance to get these important emails. All you have to do is to “Opt-In” to receive them. There’s a link to do this on the Ohio Section website, it’s on the bottom left corner.. For your convenience, here’s a direct link to it:
http://arrl-ohio.org/forwarder/forwarding.html I urge all of you to make sure that everyone, regardless of whether they are a League member or not, get signed up for one of these options. You can always “Opt-Out” at any time if you feel this is not what you were expecting. But, who in their right mind would want to miss out on anything coming out of the Great Lakes Director or the Ohio Section Manager?
Switching gears a bit.. I want to talk to all of you about the Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 -- H.R.1301 in the US House of Representative and S 1685 in the US Senate -- It would direct the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur Service communications to private land use restrictions. Now I do want to stress this, even if this passes, it doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to construct an antenna farm on top of your 20 story apartment building. What it will do however, is at least give you a voice to the HOA’s for something everyone could live with!
The Amateur Radio Parity Act would require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption 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.
I want to urge you to write to your members of both the House and the Senate, asking them to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor. Please, route your letters for your member of Congress to:
Attn HR 1301 grassroots campaign
225 Main St
Newington CT 06111
Remember - a big bag of letters from the constituents is always more impressive than ones trickling in day after day.
The Ohio Section Website.. You can find the Ohio Section Website at: http://arrlohio.org If you don’t have this website set as your home page, I urge you to do so. This website is one of the exceptions to the rules.. It changes all the time. It’s never stagnating, and I would highly recommend that you check into the website at least 3 times per week or more if you can. Yes, it does change that much! Now, how do I know so much about the website?? I’m the webmaster for it!
Ohio's Speaker Bureau.. Need a speaker for your club meeting? I’m available. Please, feel free to give me a call. I’ll do my very best to be at your function.
Yes, there’s another NEW – one question – questionnaire on the Ohio Section Website. I’ve been changing the questions about once every couple of weeks or so. It only asks one question and it will take all of about 2 seconds for you to answer it, and you can see how your answer stacks up with others instantly. If you haven’t done it yet, please do.. I really want to hear from you.
Are you a member of the ARRL?? If you aren’t a League member, this is a great opportunity to become one. Want more information on how to join? Here’s the link: http://www.arrl.org/membership-levels. There’s even a 90 day FREE trial that you can apply for if you’ve never been a member.. Got questions about being a member or what the League is all about? Send me an email.. email@example.com I’ll be happy to call or write to you or even call you if you’ve given me your phone number. We can even have coffee if you’d like.. and I’ll buy!!
Ok.. I know that I push the website and website edition of the Ohio Section Journal a lot.. I’m even sure some of you think it’s way tooooo much. But, the main reason for pushing this so hard is that it’s where all the news is.. Yes, I know that there are some who don’t even own a computer and won’t own one either, and that makes me very sad. Not that they won’t own a computer, but they are missing out on so much that’s going on because of it. These a lot of very good and exciting news and happenings on the Ohio Section website.. If it isn’t your home page on your browser, it should be!!
Do you follow us on Facebook or Twitter? Many folks have started picking us up on Facebook and Twitter now. Yes, we definitely have a presence on both of these social media areas! Why, well that’s an easy one to answer, it’s because that’s where the younger folks are hanging out these days.. It’s also a very quick way to post a short blast to everyone following us when something is happening. So, with that in mind, there’s a lot going on up on Facebook and Twitter for the Ohio Section. Right now, we have over 1,300 followers from all over the world, with that number growing every day. So, do you follow us? On Facebook just type in:
https://www.facebook.com/ohio.section On Twitter type in: @arrlohio
There’s a new link on the left side of the main page of the Ohio Section Website “Follow The Section Manager” Come on, follow me as I go around the state visiting with all of you folks. I post pictures of where I am and have a lot of great folks commenting and liking my posts. Hey, I even have Kay Cragie, the President of the ARRL following along with me. It’s a lot of fun and you’ll get to see all the places I go and the folks I meet along the way. Not on Facebook? It’s easy to join in and the best part of it is, it’s FREE!!
73, Scott, N8SY
THE OFFICIAL OBSERVER COORDINATOR
John Perone, W8RXX
Official Observer appointees have assisted thousands of Amateur Radio operators to maintain their transmitting equipment and comply with operating procedures and regulations. The object of the OO program is to notify amateurs of operating and technical irregularities before they come to the attention of the FCC and to recognize good operating practices.
The OO program serves as the first line of "eyes and ears" for the FCC. OOs are certified by passing a mandatory written examination.
The OO performs his/her function by observing rather than transmitting. They keep watch for such things as frequency instability, harmonics, hum, key clicks, broad signals, distorted audio, over deviation, out-of-band operation and other potential problems. The OO completes his/her task once the notification card is sent.
In substantive rule violations cases, OOs refer problems to ARRL HQ. After review by HQ staff, the OO may be requested to provide additional information that may be forwarded to the FCC for possible enforcement action.
Ohio OO’s monitored a total of 1097 hours in August
Also in August they sent:
3 - Good Operator Reports
0 - OO problem cards
73, John, W8RXX
SPECIAL EVENTS STATIONS IN OHIO
10/10/2015 | Zanesville World Famous Y-Bridge
Oct 10, 1300Z-2200Z, W8Y, Zanesville, OH.
Cambridge Amateur Radio Association.
7.240 7.230. Certificate.
Cambridge Amateur Radio Association
PO Box 1804, Cambridge, OH 43725.
Please QSL with contact information and $1 for postage when
requesting a certificate, which will have a picture and historical
facts about this unique bridge.
11/01/2015 | EXTRA Hour Special Event Station 4th Annual
Nov 1, 0000Z-0600Z, W8BAP, Chillicothe, OH.
Scioto Valley Amateur Radio Club.
28.445 14.280 7.250 3.860. Certificate.
Jim Boyce, 604 W 5th St.
Chillicothe, OH 45601.
This is the 4th Annual special event station to celebrate the
end to Daylight Savings Time.
Certificate with SASE.
11/07/2015 | Millfield Ohio Mine Disaster 85th Anniversary Remembrance
Nov 14-Nov 15, 1600Z-0300Z
KC8AAV, Millfield, OH. Sunday Creek Amateur Radio Federation.
28.415 14.270 7.230 3.830. QSL.
Russ Ellis, 8051 Kochis Rd
Glouster, OH 45732.
This is to honor and remember the 82 coal miners that lost their
lives in Ohio's worst ever mining disaster on November 5th 1930
in Millfield, Ohio.
OHIO HAMFEST CALENDAR
09/27/2015 | Cleveland Hamfest and Computer Show
Location: Berea, OH
Sponsor: Hamfest Association of Cleveland
10/18/2015 | Conneaut ARC's Hamfest
Location: Conneaut, OH
Sponsor: Conneaut Amateur Radio Club (W8BHZ)
10/25/2015 | Massillon ARC Hamfest
Location: Massillon, OH
Sponsor: Massillon Amateur Radio Club
11/07/2015 | Georgetown Ohio Hamfest
Location: Georgetown, OH
Sponsor: Grant Amateur Radio Club
12/05/2015 | Fulton County ARC Winterfest
Location: Delta, OH
Sponsor: Fulton County Amateur Radio Club