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Posted Aug 17, 2020

August 15, 2020

This is the twelfth newsletter produced since becoming your Section Manager on April 1.

Greetings from the soggy High Country where there has been quite a bit of rain this week. Some areas near here experienced significant flooding (Wilkesboro and Hickory) and others have been put on alert for fast rising streams due to heavy rainfall.

August has been eventful, to say the least. We have dealt with a pandemic, a hurricane, tornadoes, and an earthquake and we still have half of August still ahead of us.

With 18,000 students returning to the Appstate campus, many locals are afraid that the COVID-19 numbers for Watauga County are about to skyrocket. Few people believe students will social distance, wear a mask and avoid parties. Chapel Hill has already announced that three residence halls have quarantine situations due to confirmed outbreaks of COVID-19. East Carolina University Police broke up a party with 400 participants this past week. Across the UNC system, a number of housekeeping workers and some faculty have filed suit against the UNC Board of Governors, asking for a court order to delay the resumption of in-person classes because of their concerns that not enough has been done to make campuses safe enough to prevent a COVID-19 outbreak. In about three weeks, we will know if their concerns were well-founded.

Department of Good News

A big shout out goes out to Zach Thompson, KM4BLG from Asheville, for making the cover of the September issue of QST. Zach is an avid hiker and participates in SOTA (Summits on the Air. Inside the magazine is an interesting article Zach wrote that describes how he made an antenna mast from aluminum trekking poles. The mast is small enough to fit in a backpack and can support a J-pole antenna. Zach is an active Extra class ham who is involved with EmComm and serves as the Buncombe County Auxcomm and ARES® Coordinator.

A second news item that may be of interest to you is the success of the QSO Today virtual hamfest which was held last weekend. The QSO Today Expo drew over 20,000 virtual visitors to the two-day event. In addition to vendors who were on site to talk about new products, forums were offered that covered a wide variety of topics. I was particularly intrigued with one dealing with the history of Heathkit and another one which covered how GPS works and the data that can be extracted from the GPS signal. I also watched the forums that dealt with Ardouino microcomputer projects and other one that covered how to solve problems with serial and usb connections between radios and computers. The hamfest (qsotodayhamexpos.com) is FREE and will remain accessible until September 9.

Log in and go to the Expo Auditorium and you can watch each of the20 or so forum presentations. The virtual ham expo proved successful enough that there will be two such events each year.

A good news items that came in from Mecklenburg County over the past weekend involves Cliff Greene, WB4NCQ, known on the Tarheel Net as “Cliff #2”. Cliff underwent emergency surgery for a very serious condition. Cliff serves as the Mecklenburg County Auxcomm/ARES® Emergency Coordinator. Initial reports are that Cliff successfully came through the surgery and is on the mend. We ask that each of you keep Cliff and his wife, Marilyn, in your thoughts and prayers. We wish him a full recovery.

Department of Sad News

In the past few weeks, ham radio lost a husband and wife couple who were dedicated hams that invested much of their time to SKYWARN activities in southeastern North Carolina. Our Roanoke Vice Director, Bill Morine, N2COP, submitted this tribute to two of his dear friends who clearly made a difference with their lives of public service.

TRIBUTE TO JOHN, KJ4EJH, AND JANICE, KJ4JPE, HOPKINS (SKs)

Those of us who live in eastern North Carolina felt a double impact when Hurricane Isaias came ashore in Brunswick County as a Category 1 storm – the damage from winds and deadly storm surge during an astrological high tide, and the absence of John and Janice Hopkins. Hams west of I-95 may not have heard of this dynamic couple, but we along the coast depended on them. They lived in Swansboro, in the stretch known as the Crystal Coast, the critical link between Wilmington and the Outer Banks. John was the Newport NWS SKYWARN Emergency Coordinator; Janet was an ARRL appointed Public Information Officer (PIO). Both were active in ARES® and handled NTS traffic for the Eastern NC Traffic Net. When a storm came up the coast, not only did John and Janice pass vital traffic, they were almost always staffing an area shelter as operators. They coordinated “Weather Radio Wednesday” with local TV meteorologists where Hams helped citizens program weather radios, and Janice was always promoting Amateur Radio in local newspapers, radio and TV stations. Sadly, both John and Janice passed away from natural causes in July – John on the 7th and Janice three weeks later. Seldom have we seen such an energetic husband-wife Ham Radio team, especially in public service. We’re already feeling the void with one hurricane under our belt in 2020, and potentially more to come. Our thoughts are not only with their family members, but with all Hams whose lives were made better with their ceaseless devotion to our hobby. I want to thank North Carolina Section Manager Marv Hoffman, WA4NC, for allowing me this opportunity to share with our fellow Tarheels the legacy of this dedicated couple.

73 de Bill Morine, N2COP

ARRL Roanoke Division – Vice Director

Wilmington

ARRL News

Eighteen months after Mike Corey, KI1U, stepped down as Emergency Preparedness Manager at ARRL HQ, the ARRL webpage on August 12 announced that Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW has been appointed as the ARRL Emergency Management Director.

As Emergency Management Director, Paul will operate from ARRL HQ and coordinate with partner agencies and staff to build an effective team that positions hams to respond to natural disasters and other emergencies. Paul has served as the ARRL South Texas Section Manager and was employed by the Texas Department as an Engineering Specialist in charge of the Department’s radio communications systems. He has also been active in Army MARS and the Travis County ARES ®group. At ARRL HQ, Paul will be responsible for ARES ® and the National Traffic System and serving as liaison to a wide variety of partner agencies.

Another ARRL staffing matter may soon be resolved. On Sunday, August 16, the ARRL Directors will meet in Denver to interview finalists for the ARRL CEO position which has been vacant since January 2020 when the Board decided not to renew the contract of Dr. Howard Michels as ARRL CEO.

I hope that greater stability comes to ARRL with the hiring decision the Board is about to make. The CEO is a full-time position with a significant six figure salary; the CEO translates the ARRL Board’s vision into daily operations while leading the 78 members of the HQ staff. Choosing an effective CEO is very important to ARRL’s success in meeting its mission.

Since Dave Sumner (K1ZZ) retired in 2016 after 34 years as CEO, ARRL has lacked stable leadership. ARRL staff has been led on a daily basis by Tom Gallagher (NY2RF) who served as CEO for less than two years, Howard Michels (WB2ITX) who served for fifteen months, and Barry Shelly (N1VXY) who has served as Interim CEO since January 2020.

A third ARRL item focuses on the combined effects of ARRL HQ staff working from home, the recent power outages in New England when Hurricane Isaias passed through, as well as delays across the country in mail service. ARRL recently posted a message advising that delayed mail deliveries have to HQ will likely result in slow processing of license applications through the ARRL Volunteer Exam Coordinator.

Because HQ has not yet fully resumed operation in the Newington offices, ARRL urges members with questions to submit their questions through email. A link (www.arrl.org/contact-arrl) lists a number of topics as a guide for contacting the appropriate staff member.

NC Field Organization

Clubs

During the COVID-19 distancing rules, my ability to travel to visit with clubs remains limited. I continue to make virtual visits with clubs over Zoom and WebEx. In the past few weeks, my schedule has included visits with Raleigh Amateur Radio Society and the Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club. The Cabarrus Amateur Radio Club and the Southern Wake Amateur Radio Club are on my calendar for visits in the next two weeks.

Several clubs have extended me the courtesy of sending their club newsletters. I welcome every opportunity to know about ham radio happenings across the state.

National Traffic System

Dave Roy, W4DNA, Section Traffic Manager, submitted the following report for July 2020.

W4DNA - NC Section Traffic Manager Report - JULY 2020


NET

NMGR

QNI

LISTED

PASSED

TIME

SESSIONS

TFC %

SECTION NETS

CN

KC4PGN

423

129

121

577

62

93.80%

CSN

KV4WN

151

24

23

660

31

95.83%

NCEN

W4DNA

384

88

84

512

31

95.45%

NCMN

W3OJO

306

69

60

368

31

86.96%

LOCAL NETS

CWTN

N4CNX

373

77

75

589

31

97.40%

ENCTN

W4DNA

100

7

7

165

28

100.00%

PCTN

W4TTO

200

52

52

233

31

100.00%

TOTAL

1937

446

422

3104

245

94.62%

Limitations in the ARRL email system make it difficult to include attachments and I cannot easily include the report that Dave submits each month. His full monthly report can be viewed at www.ncarrl.org ,

I hope that each of us in the NC ARRL Section will lift up in prayer Dave Roy’s wife as she deals with a very serious illness.

Our thoughts go out to Dave during this difficult time. He asked me to approve Lane Kendall, WK4WC, as Assistant Section Traffic Manager and Lane’s appointment is being processed at this time.

Build Your Skills

Over the past several weeks, the Section Emergency Coordinators across the country have been holding virtual training sessions designed to tune up their digital messaging skills. Developers and users have made presentations about the installation, use and troubleshooting of Winlink which is a widely used software package that allows transceivers (both hf and vhf-uhf) to send and receive digital traffic that includes Word documents, photos, and a suite of agency- specific forms used by emergency agencies. Winlkink operates within the bandwidth of a single side band voice signal (2.8 khz) and provides speedy and very accurate transfer of text messages (along with reasonably sized attachments). If you or your club wants access to these streaming video sessions, drop me a line. There is no cost and each of the videos will teach you something that you did not know as well as building your skill set

Use Your Talents and Help School Kids in Your Area

Many areas of North Carolina still lack broadband internet access. Because hams are tech-savvy, you may be able to help. I saw a story on the evening news last night about Volunteer Fire Departments in Jackson and Buncombe Counties putting up wifi hotspots at their fire stations, community centers and churches so that public school students who do not have internet access can get connect to their schools.

You and your club may want to approach the local school system and the county fire marshal and offer to help do something similar to what is being done in the two mountain counties cited above. You will be helping the school system, helping kids and families who may not be able to afford internet, and you will be doing a community service.

Closing Comment

These are difficult times with a lot of normal activities being disrupted. Do everything you can to keep yourself and your family well and remain optimistic.

73, Marv, WA4NC

Boone