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Posted Feb 21, 2012

NC QSO PARTY THIS WEEKEND - Get your gear ready. The annual North Carolina QSO Party kicks off this coming Sunday at 12 Noon local time and goes to 10:00 PM (1700Z Feb 26 to 0300Z Feb 27). Many thanks to the Forsyth Amateur Radio Club of Winston-Salem for organizing this event. All eleven award categories have sponsors this year, a treat to see. There will be many mobile operators acting as rovers covering counties where the Ham population is sparse, and once again the Battleship North Carolina in Wilmington operating as NI4BK will be a bonus station along with W4NC. And look for KI4LPW, the club station of Powell Elementary School in Raleigh. Extra bonus points too if you work Cherokee County in the mountains or Dare County on the Outer Banks. Let's have a strong showing this weekend. Full details at:

ARES MEETING OF CENTRAL BRANCH MARCH 17 - In the past year, a lot of positive restructuring in the North Carolina ARES program has taken place to reflect realignment of federal and state emergency response capabilities. North Carolina Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) is still an ARRL program, but is now working jointly with Military Auxiliary Radio Services (MARS) as part of NC AUXCOMM, North Carolina Auxiliary Communications. The ARES mission is still the same, but new channels of cooperation have opened with MARS. North Carolina Emergency Management, ARES's sole served agency at the state level, supports the change. Since July, 2010, when FEMA Incident Command Structure (ICS) courses 100, 200, 700 and 800 became mandatory to hold ARES county Emergency Coordinator (EC) appointments and higher in North Carolina, over 400 operators have attained their credentials, the highest concentration in the southeast. Last year's outbreak of tornadoes forced cancellation of the 2011 annual ARES meeting in Raleigh. Because of the number of changes, ARES meetings this year will be held in all three branches - Central, Eastern and Western. The Central Branch meeting will be Saturday, March 17, in the new state Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Raleigh. The Western Branch meeting is October 27 in Morganton, and the Eastern Branch date and time are to be determined. Thanks to the many ARES leaders who have worked hard to make ARES stronger and more responsive for North Carolina citizens.

COULD HOME OWNER ASSOCIATION ANTENNA RELIEF BE SOON? - Let's not get too excited, but a positive step took place in Washington last week with the passage of the Payroll Tax bill, in which was embedded a study by the federal government to examine use of radio amateurs in emergency communications and disaster relief efforts, and how to best utilize the Amateur Radio Service in coordination with the federal government in these efforts. In addition, the study would also discuss the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use restrictions on residential antenna installations and recommend ways to remove such impediments. The 2007 North Carolina state antenna laws permit reasonable accommodation up to 90 feet in municipalities where homes aren't covered by homeowners associations. Courts have ruled, however, that residents who sign homeowner agreements have entered into contracts which cannot be overturned by state antenna laws. A possible recommendation from the initiative might be a federal Amateur Radio antenna exemption much like the one which the satellite TV industry received for the installation of dishes. This will be a very exciting issue to follow in the months ahead.

OFFICIAL OBSERVERS - With over 700,000 Hams nationwide and 19,000 in North Carolina, interference happens. Rick Lamonica, W4ZRA, is the North Carolina section Official Observer Coordinator (OOC). He oversees a team of dedicated operators who spend dozens of hours each month listening to all types of operators on the air. In case you didn't know, one of the roles of Official Observers (OOs) is to commend operators with good operating skills as well as figure out sources of operator interference and questionable behavior. Most violations are unintentional, such as leaving a VOX open for all to hear, or a Technician or General class operator who strays into Extra class band space. Regrettably, there are cases of occasional malicious interference which the OOs monitor and report to ARRL (see related story in the QUA column below). If you get a citation from an OO, remember that his or her intent is to help you correct a deficiency before it becomes a reportable FCC violation. The only exceptions are willfully repeated violations, in which OOs work closely with ARRL and FCC to document evidence. OOs are selected based on recommendations from other Hams for their character of fairness, objectivity and integrity. OO candidates must pass an ARRL exam before being appointed. Presently there is adequate OO representation throughout eastern and central North Carolina, with some possible openings in western North Carolina. Every time you get on the air with relative ease, thank an OO for helping to make and keep our hobby enjoyable.

SCHOOL CLUB ROUNDUP - Perhaps one of the more overlooked events twice a year is School Club Roundup (SCR), a week long event in October and February designed to show children from elementary school though college what Ham Radio is about, and to get young voices on the air. With federal and state education departments placing renewed emphasis on "STEM" (Science, Technology, Mathematics & Engineering), Amateur Radio is a natural activity to accompany this effort. At one time many North Carolina schools were on the air for School Club Roundup. This year, I know of only one which participated in SCR, as it has every year since 2005 - Powell GT Magnet Elementary School in Raleigh. Powell was a recipient of a grant from ARRL's "Big Project" which helped to fund a station at the school. Congratulations to the Powell "Panthers" (its mascot), and the adult Ham advisers who help to maintain the equipment and teach kids about Ham Radio.

HAMFESTS: March 10-11, Charlotte Hamfest and Roanoke Division Convention, Cabarrus Arena, 4751 NC Hwy 49, Concord, NC 28025. Talk-In: 146.655 (no tone) and 146.94 (PL 118.8). Details at:

SPECIAL EVENT STATIONS: March 17-18, The Battle of Guilford Courthouse, fought on March 15, 1781. 1200Z-2200Z, N4G, Greensboro, NC. Greensboro Amateur Radio Association. 21.315 14.315 7.231 3.900.

PUBLIC SERVICE: March 18, Wrightsville Beach Marathon, Wrightsville Beach,

LICENSING CLASSES: March 1-April 19, General Class, Skyland, NC. Details at: If your organization is sponsoring a licensing class, please register it at: class

NTS JANUARY SECTION TRAFFIC REPORT - QNI (total check-ins) 3554 (up 394, or 12% over December). TOTAL MESSAGES PASSED 747 (up 96 or 14%). STATION ACTIVITY REPORTS (SARs) K4IWW 375, W4DNA 204, KJ4RUD 174, W2EAG 152, WK4P 100, KD4KFR 86, KC4PGN 83, W3HL 72, K4JUU 39, W4TTO 38, KE4AHC 36, N2RTF 28, KJ4JPE 20, KK4ANZ 16, KA4IZN 15. PUBLIC SERVICE HONOR ROLL (PSHR) WK4P 150, W4DNA 135, K4IWW 130, KA4IZN 130, W2EAG 110, W4TTO 98, K4JUU 84, KD4KFR 80, KJ4JPE 80, KJ4RUD 80, N2RTF 78.

SILENT KEYS: We regret to report the passing of Oscar Porter, K4OBP, of Rocky Mount; Dick Barber, W1GFM, of Rockingham, and Peter Hulth, N4SXG, of Smithfield.

QUA* - As I noted above in the article on Official Observers, OOs devote many hours listening to operators across all Ham bands at all hours day and night. Most violations are minor, but in the past month I have become involved in three incidents of bad on air behavior by North Carolina operators - two on HF and one on a VHF repeater. Details are still murky in all three cases, but evidence is pointing to bad blood between or among operators, and that they decided to share their grudges on air for us to hear. Amateur Radio airwaves are a public resource, much like a park for all to enjoy. You don't litter in a park, so why would anyone want to litter on the air and spoil the airwaves for the rest of us? Not only does this behavior make the offending operators themselves look foolish, but it casts a black eye on all Amateur Radio operators for the public listening on scanners and other receivers. If these offenders can't resolve their differences, many of which are petty, please don't use our airwaves as an outlet for their frustration. * QUA is a Net "Q" signal meaning "Do you have news for me?"

73 de Bill Bill Morine, N2COP ARRL North Carolina Section Manager

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