This is another dual month letter due to the Covid-19 virus and the effects
it has had on the Amateur Radio community in Virginia and around the
world. I do not need to repeat the details of all the ham radio
activities that have been canceled. However in some few cases as a
result of some partial reopening of activities, hams have been able to
partially create some activities. There really is not any major changes
in the Covid-19 restrictions from my last report. My reporting is
designed to help all hams keep up with the goings-on the ham radio world
in Virginia as well as the world. If I make a mistake, please let me
know as I try to be as accurate as possible.
Even more activities planned for the rest of 2020 have been canceled
with tentative plans for early 2021 are also being reviewed at this
time. We have seen many college and professional sports events being
canceled and some being played without fans and only TV broadcasts.
This is a truly trying time for society as a whole. Our total world is
upside down. Some schools are restarting under special conditions and
others are still staying online only.
I implore everyone, no matter what you think you know, PAY ATTENTION to the medical professionals as this virus is still killing many adults as
well as children. We can beat it, but ONLY with the public’s
ARRL board of directors has hired a new CEO, David Minister, NA2AA, and
a new Director of Emergency Management, Paul Gilbert KE5ZW. Both are
experienced hams as well as experienced executive managers. We all wish
them well and we look forward to their thumbprints on ARRL’s new
direction and operations management. More information can be found on
The International Space Station (ISS) has received a new ham radio and
cross band retranslator IORS, uplink is 145.990Mhz with tone: 67Hz
(CTCSS) and downlink of 437.800Mhz. The new radio system will improve
the ham radio contacts with school educational programs as well as
individual ham contacts.
The FCC has proposed a new fee’s NPRM in MD Docket 20-270 for amateur
radio as well as all types of communications systems licenses. For many
years internal budgets were simply taxpayer-financed. The new NPRM is
designed to raise self-funding for the licensing operations. The $50.00 amateur radio fee covers each transaction made. Example is new license,
renew license, vanity call, etc.
ARES programs with CONNECT are continuing to grow each month. Virginia
ARES is moving forward with new DEC’s and EC’s in the new ARES/VDEM
district format. Increased EC educational programs are being implemented
and are becoming well accepted. The DERECHO storm that raised havoc in
the midwest did have some effect in Virginia with minor damages.
Hurricane Laura while expected to eventually migrate into Virginia, did
drop a lot of rain had caused some flooding in the western part of the
state, but thankfully was not as bad as it could have been. Preparations
were in place by all ARES groups and emergency services on the gulf
coast as well as here in Virginia. Hurricane watch net was active for
over 29 hours straight. The FCC granted a temporary waiver to permit
PACTOR 4 for 30 days for emergency communications. Hurricane season is
still here so we must all stay vigilant along with our SKYWARN members.
Many Zoom meetings are the norm now for emergency preparations as well
as normal club meetings. The WINLINK Wednesday net is still going strong
with many nets having total check-in of over 200+ messages.
Plans for the RED Cross exercise which include, ARES, and other
emergency communications operations on November 14, 2020, are being
formulated from the success of our exercise earlier this year. This will
be a nationwide exercise. The ARRL SET is planned for October 3-4 this
year is also being planned for our Virginia ARES and other EMCOMM groups
at this time. Details of both plans will be sent via a Virginia Section
newsletter as we get closer to exercise time. In the meantime,
communications with all participants are ongoing at this time as part of
the planning process.
MARS programs are going to undergo a major change in operations. Air
Force MARS is implementing the AF MARS Enterprise Migration to APAN.
This is the collaborative solution for the DOD. APAN is a collection of
communities to foster information and knowledge sharing between the U.S.
Department of Defense and non-DOD entities who do not have access to
traditional DOD networks,
There are now many new 30 minute webinars offered on many Amateur Radio subjects like Antennas, Amplifiers, ARES, DXing, and other technical
subjects. These can be found listed in QST as well as on the ARRL web
The Culpeper Amateur radio Assn. (CARA) is going to host “Junk in the
trunk” on Oct 10th, at the Culpeper Agricultural Enterprise, 10220
James Monroe Hwy, Culpeper Va. Cost is $ 5.00 per car. Contact Mike
Moore K4MVM@arrl.net. Covid 19 restrictions will be followed.
Everyone stay safe, please follow Covid 19 restrictions where required
and enjoy ham radio from your own shack. We all hope and pray for
the vaccine and return to face-to-face hamfest and meetings soon. Also, our country needs you at this critical time for our country—-PLEASE
VOTE–either early or in person–on election day. Our country NEEDS
Dr Joe Palsa
Virginia Section Manager
ARRL Virginia Section
Section Manager: Dr. Joseph G. Palsa, K3WRY