Alabama Section News

New Ham License Plate to be issued June 1, 2014

New Ham License Plate to be issued June 1, 2014Thanks to Chris Hall, K4LIA and James Sanders, KV4OJ, for their help in the design this tag. [more]

Information, What Information or is it Who?

Last week’s note described the snowmageddon event that visited Alabama January 28th, 2014. I searched for information about what happened when the actual story was [more]

Mobile Hamfest

Mobile HamfestMobile, AL Hamfest 12-April-2014 [more]

2014 Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham Award

2014 Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham AwardThe 2014 Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham Award is intended to recognize a young ham who has demonstrated his or her dedication to Amateur Radio through his or her [more]

Alabama QSO Party 7-8 June, 2014

The Alabama QSO Party (AQP) will start at 1600Z (1100 CDST) 07 June, 2014 and end at 0400Z 08 June (2300 07 June CDST). 2014 The Alabama QSO Party website will be [more]

It is About the Information

Our Public Information programs tend to concentrate on providing some sort of story or information to the “Public.” Our efforts are focused on reaching people who have [more]

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New Ham License Plate to be issued June 1, 2014

Thanks to Chris Hall – K4LIA and to James Sanders – KV4OJ for their work in the final design of this tag.  The design went through many changes on short notice and they stepped up to the challenge.  IMG_1641

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Information, What Information or is it Who?

Last week’s note described the snowmageddon event that visited Alabama January 28th, 2014. I searched for information about what happened when the actual story was hidden in the answer to “Who?” A well known and somewhat trite statement explains that if you ask the wrong question you get the wrong answer. I had started by asking “what” had happened and the answers were it snowed and we did what we could. When I began to ask the “Who” question a different story developed.

Who responded from the amateur radio community? Who did they help? Who worked from their home? Who worked from mobile station? Who worked the radios from the EMA? Who did the hams work with to provide aid?

If you will listen to any good story teller you will note that they will set the stage and then develop the characters that have a part in their story. The January 28th snow event is Alabama consisted initially of a solid white, very slick stage but the cast of characters, consisted of the people that are described in the answers to question, “Who?” Very quickly the story line rapidly expanded when it was discovered that there were many loosely coordinated activities being conducted by trained and equipped Amateur Radio operators. Operators working almost independently to provide aid to those effected by the snow.

I would have liked to have a list of the amateur radio operators that worked during the event but no such record exists. I would like to have know how many parents received messages from hams that their children were at school, safe, but that the roads were not passable. Don’t go. I know you can drive on the snow and Ice but the roads are blocked by those that have proven they cannot drive on snow and ice. It would have been good to have a record of the number of operators that assisted law enforcement to locate stranded motorists that were in distress. The drivers or passengers that had special needs, not just uncomfortable but in distress. No paper, no record.

I would like to have the information on how many messages were passed about blocked roads and who passed them. A good quote from someone that was directly involved would be golden in an article about the event.

The real story began to appear. There were a large number of Alabama Amateur Radio Operators that provided communications assistance during the light dusting event. These licensed operators purchased their own equipment, spend time developing the communication skills need to aid in an emergency and moved to action. They had honed their skills in test exorcises, while providing communications support for public events, working practice nets and just having fun.

These amateur operators known as Hams had again met the challenge of a disaster and had provided aid using their own equipment without compensation. They not only worked without compensation licensed amateur operators are forbidden by law from receiving any compensation beyond a thanks.

The who of this story was the ham radio operators and all that they assisted but just a cast and stage does not make a story. You will find that when the questions about what, who, when, where and how are answered with facts, good stories almost write themselves. More next week. If you are going to tell a good story it helps if you know your audience.

Ed Tyler – N4EDT
N4EDT@arrl.net
Ed Tyler

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Mobile Hamfest

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Mobile, AL Hamfest Saturday April 12, 2014

John, KR4ET and Bob, W4TAJ

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2014 Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham Award

The 2014 Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham Award is intended to recognize a young ham who has demonstrated his or her dedication to Amateur Radio through his or her activities. Although there are several national awards of similar merit, we recognized the need for an award that honors outstanding young hams on the local level. Thus, the Alabama Section Outstanding Youth Ham Award was born. This award is not a contest for a prize. Any prizes given are secondary in nature. A person selected “Alabama Outstanding Youth Ham”; is judged on his or her contributions to society through Amateur Radio. This year’s awards will be prior to the award.

Also we are honored to have ICOM‘s continued support of this award with the presentation of an ID-51A analog/D-Star portable to the winner.  In addition GigaParts will also be a sponsor. Continue reading

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Alabama QSO Party 7-8 June, 2014

The Alabama QSO Party (AQP) will start at 1600Z (1100 CDST) 07 June, 2014 and end at 0400Z 08 June (2300 07 June CDST). 2014

The Alabama QSO Party website will be found here:

http://www.alabamaqsoparty.org/

The Rules for the AQP will be found here:

http://www.alabamaqsoparty.org/2014/2014Rules.pdf

Please note that the AQP will be occurring during the week when Alabama hams will be participating in the W1AW Special Event so that may generate some additional interest.

Many thanks for your help!

73, Tom Schwinn, W4NBS

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It is About the Information

Our Public Information programs tend to concentrate on providing some sort of story or information to the “Public.” Our efforts are focused on reaching people who have little if any knowledge about our hobby, our passion. Unfortunately our efforts are built on a very weak foundation. Our emphasis should not be on the “Public” but on the “Information.” I will be writing a weekly short note on the subject of information and information distribution to the amateur radio community, posting them on this site. This first note is intended to set the stage for future notes.

Our efforts to inform should first focus on the acquisition of the material needed to tell the story of ham radio. The central portion of Alabama was promised a light dusting of snow for the morning of January 28th, 2014. We got a light dusting of snow that melted and then refroze by about 11:00 AM. This first bit of white stuff was followed by another 3 to 6 inches of additional “light dustings of snow.” The snow and ice event trapped people at work, and at schools. Schools were full of students unreachable by buses. Our entire local and interstate road network went into border to border gridlock. As of Midnight on the 28th there were thousands of stranded cars, statewide over 10,000s of people in shelters, hundreds or thousands of accidents and just a generally nasty mess.

Because of the way the event developed most the local EMAs in the effected area stayed in the stand-by mode. Nets were not activated but, while the cell phone tower went into meltdown, unusable for hours, the ham radio operators went into action. Following the event I went in search of basic information about the ham radio response and was very surprised to discover there were few records documenting the amateur radio activity. At first this lack of information was truly disturbing. How could we have an event that did as much damage to our state as a small to mid size tornado, an event that involved many, many amateur radio operators and be unable to find anything that could be used to write a story. The lack of records almost suggest that it didn’t happen.

We did not have a record of the event, we didn’t have the facts, the facts, the information to describe the amateur radio communities efforts to mitigate a disaster. The disaster that had arrived in the form of 3 to 6 inches of a “Light Dusting.” Maybe there was something in the information I was missing.

There was a big story hidden in the event but I was missing it. Come back next week and find out what I was missing and what we can do to capture facts about our activities that will allow us to promptly share with other an accurate picture of amateur radio.

N4EDT – Ed
N4EDT@arrl.net

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Birminghamfest ARRL Booth

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KG4MPU-Tommy; David-W4MD; Doug-K4AC
Photo by Ed-N4EDT

Dr. Larry, Tommy, and David

Dr. Larry, Tommy, and David
Photo by KC0ONR

 

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Alabama ARRL Section Meeting at BHM Hamfest

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W4MD and the ARRL Section Meeting BHM
Photo by KG4MPU

 

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W100AW Special Event is on the air and coming to Alabama!

VGzjyFhh[1]It looks like the W1AW Special Event for 2014 is off to a great start.  However, there are still questions arising about when the various states will be on the air and where can they be found.

Here are some links that might help answer these questions. This first link is the complete schedule for 2014 showing when each state will be hosting the W1AW call sign.  So far, it has been relatively easy to find these Special Event stations on the air because they are proving to be quite popular and they are generating pile-ups.  It would be helpful if folks would print this schedule and keep it near their rig so they wouldn’t need to keep referring to the ARRL website.

There is another way to find if one of these stations is active, though.  By using a DX spotting program or a website such as DXSummit, all one needs to do is to type in W1AW/X in the Search feature (the X represents the call area of the state currently using the W1AW call sign).

For example, for the week starting 8 January, 2014, Utah and South Carolina stations will be using the W1AW call sign.  If you are looking for one of these stations, using the Search function of DXSummit or some other spotting program, type in W1AW/4 to find an active South Carolina station or W1AW/7 to find an active Utah station.

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/On%20the%20Air/Copy%20of%202014CentennialQSOCalendar13Dec.pdf

This next link is to the ARRL website where one will be able to find a complete description and some FAQ’s regarding this special event.

http://www.arrl.org/centennial-qso-party#Operating_Period

I will be sending this e-mail out to all the clubs in Alabama and wondered if you could post this on the Alabama Section website for folks that are not in clubs.

Thanks.

73, Tom Schwinn, W4NBS

League’s web site at http://alarrl.com/.

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W1AW/4 Special Event Announcement

All,

  • Most of you have probably seen the e-mail that was recently sent out to all the clubs in Alabama announcing that the Alabama Contest Group is now accepting requests for operating time slots for the W1AW/4 Special Event.
  • This past weekend it was brought to our attention that there was no mention of satellite or EME operations.  Since the goal of this Special Event is to activate W1AW/4 on as many modes as possible, it was decided to investigate how many Alabama hams would be interested in activating W1AW/4 using satellite and/or EME.
  • If you have the capability and think you might be willing to use one of these modes, just reply via this e-mail or use the “Contact Us” link on the home page of the Alabama Contest Group website so we can get an idea of the interest level with these modes.

And remember, please continue to talk about this event at your club meetings and any hamfests you may attend.

73, Tom, W4NBS

To: All Amateur Radio Operators in the State of Alabama

Probably every ham operator in the state is aware that this Special Event is currently happening.  Notices have been sent to all of the clubs statewide and announcements have appeared on the ARRL website and also on the Alabama section of the ARRL website.

The Alabama Contest Group (ACG) has been tasked with organizing W1AW/4 operations within the state and work has been in progress towards making that task successful since late last year.

To that end, the ACG is pleased to make the following announcement:

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