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May 31, 2020

NC ARRL Members:

At long last, all our trees have leaves and the flowering Rhododendrons are presenting beautiful colors up here in the High Country.

Weather in the mountains is fascinating. In the past two weeks we have had below-freezing weather with Rime Ice in the trees on the mountains, several days of fog, lots of rain (10 inches last week), occasional sunshine, a day with temps close to 80 degrees and some windy nights (45 mph). Yesterday, at 4 p.m., it was beautiful with a blue sky, 73 degrees and a gentle breeze is blowing.

Locals up here say that if you don’t like the weather, wait fifteen minutes and it will change. I think it was Mark Twain who said that everyone talks about the weather but nobody does anything about it.

Field Day June 27-28 is not far away and Field Day will soon be upon us.

There is no doubt that Field Day this year will be quite different from previous years. It appears likely that COVID-19 quarantine rules will likely decrease the number of traditional multiple operator club efforts.

By now, you should have heard that, on May 28, the ARRL Programs and Services Committee granted a one-time (2020 only) waiver that reflects the reality that many groups will have their members operating from home. An ARRL posting announcing the 2020 Field Day Waiver which allows clubs to aggregate the scores of members and also indicates that class 1D stations can earn receive points for contacting other 1D class stations can be found at

At the present time, it is not likely that I will be traveling to visit Field Day sites. However if you want me to virtually visit with your group, that can be done with video meeting software or by way of Facetime on your cellular device. Let me know if you want a virtual Field Day visit from your Section Manager and we will attempt to make that happen.

Coastal Hurricane Preparedness If you live on the North Carolina Coast, you may want to take a look at a site that identifies evacuation routes for each county, should it become necessary to move people out of particular areas. North Carolina has five evacuation zones and you can learn more about preparing for hurricanes at two websites prepared by the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. Go to and

Solar Weather and Band Openings While on the topic of weather, winds and solar flares on the surface of the sun affect the degree to which the ionosphere becomes excited and changes its reflectivity for various parts of the radio spectrum. In the last couple of days, ten meters as well as six meters have had band openings for our area up into New England.

Start listening on the bands that you may have forgotten and when you hear someone quite a ways away, give them a call but remember that band conditions can change quickly. One minute the station will be there and then may be gone in another minute.

Technological Progress Likes lots of you, I watched the Space-X launch yesterday and reflected on how much space technology has changed since our first Moon Launch fifty years ago. The Falcon 9.1 rocket that lifted Space-X off developed 1.7 million pounds of thrust whereas the Saturn V rockets used in the Lunar and Skylab Missions required 7.8 million pounds of thrust. Lighter payloads due to development of new materials, use fly by wire technology, and reusable launch vehicles all represented the march of technology over fifty years.

American technology has always been something to marvel over. I recently came across a video that covered the Anti-Ballistic Missile project and the role of Bell Labs in its development for the US Air Force. My friend, N2DE, David Hooper worked at Bell Labs on various parts of the project.

The video traces the development of transistors, integrated circuits, phased array radars, and the incredible construction project that was involved in designing and deploying the DEW LINE radars in Canada (where my brother served for two years looking at radar screens for planes and rockets cover over the North Pole). Also touched upon are the Ajax, Nike Zeus projects and the development of computers to rapidly integrate data to calculate paths of incoming missiles.

On a rainy day, take time to watch this 30 minute Bell Labs video and reflect on how much of what we take for granted today came out of Bell Labs.

will take you for an educational journey.

ARISS Balloon Race Four school student groups on the west coast are launching balloons on June 1 as part of a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics) initiative to engage students across the country in science and technology. Progress of balloons across the country can be tracked on APRS.

Information on the balloon race can be found at

Tarheel Net Update: In the past couple of weeks, we have been able to secure commitments from several experts to participate on a scheduled basis on the Tarheel Emergency Net.

1st Monday: NC4VA, Virginia Enzor presents topical information about weather.

2nd Monday: Still open.

3rd Monday: N2COP, Bill Morine, Roanoke Division Vice Director, will offer a monthly report about ARRL issues and answer your questions about League activities.

4th Monday: W3FIE, Greg Hauser, Statewide Interoperability Coordinator with North Carolina Emergency Management, will offer a monthly update on EmComm. Greg was the Fire Communications Supervisor for Charlotte Fire and two years ago was selected to serve as SWIC. His job is to lead the Communications Unit in NC Emergency Management. His ESF-2 team includes the NC Association of Broadcasters, SHP Communications, VIPER, NCNG, Auxcomm, FirstNet, Charter Spectrum, ATT, Sprint, Verizon, various local cell providers and others whose communications are essential during disasters. Use this opportunity to hear him talk about the ways in which amateur radio operators can become involved in EmComm.

Each of these persons is a Subject Matter Expert in their field and you have the opportunity to learn from them and to pose questions, all from the comfort of your home. The Tarheel Net meets every night on 3923 KHz at 7:30 p.m.

HELP NEEDED: There is an unfilled position for a Net Manager of the Tarheel Emergency Net, a position that has been vacant for nearly four years. The THEN net manager is responsible to collating participation reports from the various net control stations and sending a monthly report to the Section Emergency Coordinator and to me.

Also, if someone is willing to take on Tarheel Net Control for Thursday nights, I will pick up the vacant slot on the 2nd Monday of each month. This biweekly newsletter covers more information that can be covered during the Thursday night session that we try to end at 8:00 pm in order to accommodate the Baptist Emergency Amateur Radio Net, although they are very willing to hold off their net until the Tarheel Net has concluded.

Does anyone want to be Tarheel Net Control on Thursdays from 7:30 – 8:00 p.m. on 3923 KHz?

We are very close to completing the roster of net control stations for each night and once that is done, the Net Manager could be asked to fill-in when a regularly scheduled net control station has to miss a session due to travel or due to illness but the Net Manager would not be scheduled for a particular night on a recurring basis.

The Tarheel Emergency Net began operation in 1947 and, until about a year ago, met every night. W4AJT, Weldon Field (sk) checked in almost every night for sixty years. What a record!!

Clubs During the COVID-19 Quarantine, I have been able to virtually visit several amateur radio clubs. If you want an opportunity to talk with your Section Manager, I can meet with your group via one of the video meeting applications or Echolink on your local net. And, after the quarantine rules are lifted, I will try to meet in person with your group. Scheduled or completed visits include:

  • Mayland Amateur Radio Club
  • Forsyth Amateur Radio Club
  • Mecklenburg Amateur Radio Society
  • Western Piedmont Amateur Radio Club
  • Shelby Amateur Radio Club
  • Blue Ridge Amateur Radio Club
  • Guilford Amateur Radio Association
  • Appalachian Emergency Net (SW NC)
  • Drop me a note and we will see if something can be scheduled.

    Also on the subject of clubs, if your club wishes to use any of the content in my bi-weekly messages, feel free to do so.

    Finally, with respect to clubs, please mention at your next club meeting that if anyone in the club is not receiving my messages directly via email, they should log on to the ARRL webpage. At the top right corner of the page, under their name, click on the link “edit your profile”. When that page opens, look for the “edit your email preferences” tab and chose to receive emails from your Division Director and Section Manager. While you have the page open, you may want to choose to receive emails about other topics of interest to amateur radio operators.

    Data from ARRL North Carolina has 19,183 amateur operators with addresses in North Carolina according to FCC records.

    There are about 4500 members of ARRL with addresses in North Carolina.

    About 3100 ARRL members choose to receive emails from the Division Director and NC Section Manager.

    MESH Nets I am interested in hearing from members across the state that have operating MESH nets in their areas. This is a growing area of interest among amateurs who are linking their members by means of wifi routers (locally) and with Ubiquiti devices (mountain top to mountain top).

    These devices generally operate as Part 15 devices on 2.4 and 5.6 GHz but can operate with more power in the adjacent Amateur bands. Operation on the Amateur bands may lessen the likelihood of interference from other MESH nets.

    Information about a leading MESH network is found at

    Up here in the High Country, we have some people looking to link a mesh net in Mitchell County and extending it into Avery and Watauga County and possibly from there to Ashe, Wilkes and Caldwell Counties where line of sight paths can be found for Ubiquiti links. Tech savvy hams take note!

    Silent Keys Since becoming Section Manager on April 1, I have received notices abut the passing of six amateur operators and I forwarded that information to ARRL Headquarters. If you know of a silent key whose passing should be listed in QST, please send me a note. ARRL policy requires my message requesting the QST listing include a link to the obituary from a newspaper or a funeral home notice so be sure to include that along with the request for the Silent Key listing.

    Part of your ARRL Membership As an ARRL member, you are entitled to receive a mailed copy of QST or the new publication, On the Air. On the Air began in January and is being published bi-monthly. It has proven to be very well received by members. As a member you have access at no additional cost to QEX, the experimenter’s journal, as well as the National Contest Journal. Access these journals at

    ARRL Policy A thirty member Board of Directors (a Division Director and a Vice Director from each of the fifteen Divisions) make policy for ARRL, set its budget and employ the CEO. Questions about what ARRL intends to do something, or why it did something, such as filings with the FCC on proposed Amateur Radio Service Rules, including frequencies and modes, should be directed to:


    George W. "Bud" Hippisley, W2RU
    981 Circle Creek Road
    Penhook, VA 24137

    Vice Director:
    Bill Morine, N2COP
    101 Windlass Dr.
    Wilmington, NC 28409-2030
    (H) 910-452-1770
    (C) 910-367-1758

    Closing Comment
    Laws exist and they have to be enforced or there is social disorder. Law enforcement has the difficult job of dealing with angry and dangerous people in volatile situations. Police personnel have to be carefully selected and then be trained for almost any kind of situation you can imagine. Sometimes excessive force is used and the officer(s) have to face the consequences of their actions.

    The past few days have been hard for many of us who have over the years worked with and respect Police, Fire, EMS and other responders. The overwhelming majority of law enforcement personnel is compassionate, fair and can be counted on to do the right thing.

    Those who have grievances against the police have the right to be heard but do not have the right to destroy property, burn police cars or injure law enforcement personnel.

    Everyone, regardless of race, religion, or profession, has to accept the consequences of their actions.

    Escalating violence does not do society any good. I am hoping for better days ahead.

    Marv, WA4NC 828 964 6626


    ARRL North Carolina Section

    Section Manager: Marvin K Hoffman, WA4NC