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Posted Jul 13, 2021

NC ARRL Section News

July 13, 2021

Greetings from the High Country

We always have some variability in the weather up here, with surprising high and low temps, storms, periods of lightning and thunder and some gorgeous days as well.  The saying in Blowing Rock is, “if you don’t like the weather, wait 15 minutes and it will change”. 

Watauga County does not have a large area (312 sq miles) but I have seen temperature variations as great as 15 degrees from side of the county to another.  Elevations in Watauga County vary from a high point of 5,964 feet (at the peak of Grandfather Mountain where Avery, Watauga and Caldwell meet), down to a low elevation of 741 feet where Wilkes, Caldwell and Watauga Counties meet near Sampson. 

Beech Mountain is the highest incorporated town east of the Rockies and has an elevation of 5,506 feet above mean sea level.  Watauga County has many that seem ideal for fly fishing, tubing, and viewing. 

Ham operators like to come up here for Summits on the Air (SOTA) and Parks on the Air (POTA) activations.  On an exceptionally clear day, you can see the Charlotte skyline from Grandfather Mountain, a distance of 92 miles.

HAMFEST NEWS

Cary Swapfest

The Cary Swapfest will be held this Saturday, July 17, from 8:00 AM until 1:00 PM at Cary’s Ritter Park, 301 W Lochmere Drive, Cary, NC.

Waynesville Hamfest Returns

The Western Carolina Amateur Radio Society (WCARS) will hold its annual hamfest on July 24 at the Haywood County Fairgrounds (now officially known at the Smoky Mountain Event Center) near Waynesville.  This is a popular hamfest that brings together a nice group of people.  Located in a picturesque setting, this hamfest has several dealers who offer new and used equipment for sale in an indoor area as well as a second adjacent pole barn.  Food is available on site.  Doors open at 8 a.m.  There is a VE test session scheduled during the hamfest.  The event is held near the Lake Junaluska community and visitors from the Piedmont will find temperatures that are mild in comparison to those back home.  Information about the hamfest can be obtained by contacting the hamfest chairperson, Ruth Brenner,at wcars.nc.hamfest@gmail.com.

Cape Fear Amateur Radio Society Swapfest

CFARS will hold its annual Swapfest on Saturday, August 14 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Cumberland County Shrine Club, 7040 Ramsey Street (US 401North).  Walk-in VE Testing will be held at 9 am.  Contact Pat, n4ughpat@aol.com if you plan to take an exam.  

Shelby Hamfest

Labor Day weekend marks the return of the “Granddaddy of Them All”, the Shelby Hamfest for its 64th session.  Held on September 3, 4 and 5 at the Cleveland County Fairgrounds in Shelby, the Shelby Hamfest has a large flea market area and one air conditioned building filled with new equipment dealers.  Some people arrive on Friday to set up their flea market spots. Forums will be presented and there is a test session scheduled.  Information can be found at www.shelbyhamfest.org.

FIELD DAY VISITS

During Field Day weekend, I got to see a lot of the mountains.  I traveled 796 miles and visited Field Day sites in Hayesville, Franklin, Waynesville, Marshall, Asheville, Hendersonville, atop Bearwallow Mountain, Shelby, Gastonia and both Field Day sites in Charlotte.  I found enthusiastic participants at each location and the visits gave me new ideas about solar power setups and using drones to hang antennas.  The trip was a great opportunity to watch a number of very good operators enjoying the hobby. Congratulations to the various groups for making the effort to get out in the field.  Thanks also go out to Dave Price who visited seven Field Day sites in Moore, Bladen, Wake, Johnston and Pitt Counties in his role as Youth Coordinator.  He traveled 342 miles in behalf of NC ARRL.

FCC MATTERS

No word has been received when the FCC will begin collecting application fees.  ARRL thinks it may be October before the fees take effect but no one is sure when the software that links fee payments and license applications will be operational.  ARRL believes that the VE’s will not collect the fee but the license applicant will pay the fee directly to the FCC.

Nor has any word been received on several long-pending proposals that concern Technician HF voice privileges, eliminating the 300 baud (symbol rate) limitation, establishing hf sub-bands for wideband digital operations and eliminating the 15db limitation on HF amplifiers (that were written in hopes of preventing CB operators using high power amplifiers).  The ARRL Executive Committee minutes note that ARRL President Rick Roderick “voiced his deep personal displeasure with the lack of action by the FCC on Amateur matters that are impairing the Amateur Service”.  The minutes are available at www.arrl.org/board-meetings and look specifically at the Executive Committee June 2021 Minutes.

ARRL MATTERS

The ARRL Board to Meet on July 16-17 (in person).  The agenda for the meeting can be found at the link cited in the item immediately above this one.

Riley Hollingsworth, K4ZDH, head of the Volunteer Monitor Program, posted the May 2021 VM Report on the ARRL webpage.  He noted several situations which warranted issuance of Advisory Notices, Warnings and one situation which was referred to the FCC for enforcement.  His posting can be found at www.arrl.org/news/may-2021-volunteer-monitor-program-report.

FCC LICENSE AND ARRL MEMBERSHIP DATA

Here is data that you may find interesting:

FCC Amateur License Data – June 8, 2021

Location

Novice

Technician

General

Advanced

Extra

Total

USA

7,043

396,744

185,078

36,693

153,691

779,249

NC

   113

  10,603

     5,678

  1,148

    5,004

   22,607

ARRL Membership Data – June 2021

# of MEMBERS

 

JUNE 2021

 

MAY 2021

 

JUNE 2020

New Members in 1 month

New Members in 1 year

% Growth in 1 year

NC

    4,553

    4,579

    4,451

  -26

 102

+2.3

ROANOKE

  12,576

  12,640

  12,445

  -64

 131

+ 1.1

USA

157,790

158,119

157,880

-329

  -90

  -0.1

ARRL Membership Data – June 2011

# of MEMBERS

 

JUNE 2011

 

MAY 2011

 

JUNE 2010

New Members in 1 month

New Members in 1 year

% Growth in 1 year

NC

    4,050

    4,041

    3,959

  9

   91

+2.3

ROANOKE

  11,577

  11,571

  11,457

  6

 120

+1.0

USA

156,797

156,625

156,120

172

  677

  0.1

The data point to several facts:

a.       The number of amateur radio licenses continues to grow and has never been higher than today.

b.       Approximately 80,000 new hams were added in the past decade. (www.arrl.org/news/us-amateurs-now-700-000-strong)

c.       Membership in the ARRL comprises about 20% of all amateur licensees.

d.       Technician class licensees now comprise a majority of ham license holders.

e.       ARRL membership has remained basically static over the past ten years.   Despite deaths and drop outs, along with new members joining, the number of members is within 1,750 of what it was ten years ago.

f.        ARRL membership as a percentage of all licensed hams appears to have declined over time.

 

CLUB INFORMATION

ARRL maintains a list of clubs which is published and can be accessed through its webpage.  The public information can be used by prospective hams and visitors to find your club and to contact you about joining or about VE testing.

A topic that has bounced around on the Section Manager blog involves the fact that too much of the information about clubs is outdated or is incorrect, bringing into question whether it can be relied upon. North Carolina is reported to have 95 clubs but I have seen lists that refer to 117 NC clubs.  Some clubs have not updated information about officers, meetings, and activities for a very long time and it is past time to clean up the files. 

ARRL has asked that each club designate one of its officers to annually update the information, preferably after club elections.  To update the club information, log in at arrl.org and go to the “Radio Clubs” tab and search for your club (by name or city and state).  Once you see your club, click on the “Go Now!” tab to the right of the club name.  Once you are the information for your club, there is a small “Edit” tab at the right of the club name. Update the information, enter your name and save the data for your club and you are good for another year. 

Also on the topic of clubs, ARRL recommends that you designate a Club PIO to get out information about the club and its activities. ARRL is in the process of developing information designed to help clubs retain and expand membership and to have interesting programs.

AUXCOMM TRAINING

NC Emergency Management is sponsoring four Auxcomm classes during the remainder of 2021

The first course is in Wilmington and is expected to have 15 students when it is held on August 10-12.  A few spaces remain in the Wilmington course.  Simultaneously with the Auxcomm class there will be a COML class that will be underway from August 9-12. Students In both courses will have the opportunity to participate in a COMMEx that will be held on August 13 involving the students and EM agencies in Areas 4 and 5.

For hams away from the coast, recruitment is now underway for an Auxcomm course in the Western Branch to be in September with the exact date yet to be determined but the location will likely be in or near Lenoir, NC in Caldwell County.  If you are interested in enrolling in the September class, please contact me as soon as possible.  The dates are likely to be in the middle of September and will involve a Friday-Saturday-Sunday schedule to minimize the amount of time that students have to be away from their jobs.

A third Auxcomm class will be held in mid-October in the Central Branch, in either Chatham or Moore County.  Please contact Virginia Enzor, NC4VA (nc4va@nc.rr.com) and let her know of your interest in the Auxcomm course to be held in the center of the state.

Finally, with respect to Auxcomm, the Disaster COMMS Week will be held again at the Charlotte Police Fire Training the Academy on December 13-16 and will include the COML, COMT, Auxcomm and Tactical Dispatcher courses, plus a COMMEx to be held on December 17.  We are expecting a number of tactical Communications Vans to be on site and teams will have the opportunity to complete portions of their Position Task Books.  The Disaster Comms Week is one of the premiere EmComm training events offered anywhere in the United States.

Approximately 100 slots will be available in the various courses.  This is your opportunity to become part of one of the best EmComm teams found anywhere in America.

Among the topics covered in the Auxcomm course are the role of the COML in managing a deployment, using SHARES Pactor 4 Winllnk to pass traffic on behalf of the Incident Management Team to and from the RCC’s and State EOC, as well as using the VIPER radio system.

Several points should be noted about each of these Communication Unit courses:

a.       NCEM is offering these courses in order to increase the number of persons who can work within the Incident Command System in support of local EM agencies as well as to provide a cadre of personnel who can function in the Regional Coordinating Centers (in Kinston, Butner and Conover).

b.       Once dates are set, the courses and exercises will be listed in TERMS (http://terms.ncem.org).

c.       Applicants should be known and endorsed by their local County EM coordinator.

d.       Prerequisites include ICS100, 200, 700, 800 (free, on line at https://training.fema.gov/nims/) and a valid amateur radio license.

e.       Students traveling more than 50 miles from home will be reimbursed up to the state limits for mileage and lodging in accordance with NC EM Travel policy (which can be found in the course listing in TERMS).

f.        Upon completion of the course, students will be issued a state and a federal Auxcomm course certificate.  Additionally, the Statewide Interoperability Coordinator will issue each student who completes the course an Auxcomm Position Task Book (with the NC supplement) that lists specific tasks needed to be completed within three years in order to become a NC Credentialed Auxcomm operator.  The Auxcomm credential is different than the ARRL ARES® Task Book which is not recognized by any state or territory.

If you are interested in enrolling in the Auxcomm course or have general questions about Auxcomm, please quickly drop me a line.  I will be one of the three Auxcomm Instructors in these courses.

TRAFFIC NETS

Dave Roy, W4DNA, Section Traffic Manager submitted his report for the month of June 2021.  Thanks go out to the various traffic handlers and the Net Managers, as well as to Dave Roy for their service to ham radio.

Because of limitations in the ARRL email system the data cannot be fully presented her as it is an Excel file.  The complete report as prepared by W4DNA can be found at ncarrl.org.

W4DNA - NC Section Net Report - JUNE 2021                                                                                     

NET

NMGR

QNI

LISTED

PASSED

TIME

SESSIONS

TFC %

 

CN

KC4PGN

413

111

103

530

60

92.79%

 

CSN

KI4KZS

122

29

28

601

30

96.55%

 

NCEN

WK4WC

293

85

82

534

30

96.47%

 

NCMN

W3OJO

 

287

167

166

681

30

99.40%

THEN

AE4MF

 

301

 

 

529

24

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

LOCAL NETS

 

CWTN

N4CNX

 

512

175

175

780

30

100.00%

ENCTN

W4DNA

 

87

18

18

208

29

100.00%

PCTN

W4TTO

 

238

81

81

377

30

100.00%

TOTAL

 

 

2253

666

653

4240

263

98.05%

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SILENT KEYS

ARRL gives recognition to hams who have recently passed away.  When a ham in your club, or a ham friend, passes away, please drop me a line along and include a link to a funeral home notice or published obituary so can forward the information to ARRL HQ.  While serving as Section Manager I have sent nearly seventy requests to the ARRL for SK listings.  If you are unsure whether a request was sent on to ARRL, drop me a line and I will make sure that appropriate recognition is given to the ham.

CLOSING COMMENT

North Carolina is a large state with a lot of people and activities to keep them busy.  Hams are a special breed with unique skill sets and many have a lot of free time on their hands as they are retired from their careers.  One of the great challenges that we are only slowly coming to recognize is our shortfall in getting younger school students interested in electronics.  We need to do more outreach to our public schools and encourage the principals there to consider encouraging a teacher to get a ham radio license and have the club to offer to set up a ham radio station in the school. If truth were told, most of us have excess ham equipment that we don’t use and will never get around to selling. 

Clubs should consider taking on the task of taking the step of contacting the local school system and offering their talent and support. We have lots of retired EE’s, programmers and service technicians who could be an extremely valuable resource in our schools while at the same time helping America catch up to some of our competitors who are outpacing us in “ why something works’ rather than the ‘how to use’ the techno gadgets that surround us everywhere.  We are quickly creating a generation with superior eye to hand coordination developed while playing games but we are not doing enough in terms of getting kids to make things. 

It is time for us to get off our butts and reach out to the schools, offering them the wealth of talent that we spent our lifetimes developing.

Marv