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Posted May 4, 2021

North Carolina Section News

May 4, 2021

Greetings from the High Country.

Despite the sadness that has filled the hearts of many people up here we are getting some joy over the arrival of Spring, with the fresh leaves, the flowers and opportunity to be outside.

This weekend I was in Raleigh on Friday and Saturday and was struck by how different the weather down there is from that up here. As I look from my deck, about 20% of the trees have leaves and the rest have buds, some flowers have come up out of the ground but most haven’t. The grass will need to be mowed this week.

Those of you who live off the mountain probably think I am exaggerating but, as one goes up higher in elevation, the stark differences between the mountains and the rest of the state become more apparent. Up on Beech Mountain, (a little more than 5,000 feet in elevation), their springtime is even slower in arriving than is mine at 3850 feet above sea level.

SUGAR NEWS

One of the somewhat obscure powers of a Section Manager is to hand out “Atta boys” that recognize noteworthy accomplishments by hams and ham groups.

This past Saturday morning, I visited with the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts in southern Wake County and awarded them the first-ever SUGAR AWARD for

SUPPORTING-UPGRADING-GROWING AMATEUR RADIO

The Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts are VE’s credentialed with the Laurel VE Coordinator. Beginning in February 2020 and during the COVID-19 Pandemic, up through Saturday morning, they offered 22 Test Sessions and tested 172 applicants. The sessions resulted in 103 new Technicians, 15 new Generals and they had one individual who passed all three exams and walked out with an Extra Class license. In addition, their test sessions resulted in 38 upgrades to higher licenses for persons already holding amateur licenses.

Congratulations to each of these new hams and those who upgraded, to the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts, and to Mark Gibson (N4MQU), leader of the Five County Ham Radio Enthusiasts!

If you know of a group that deserves some SUGAR, let me know about their superior achievements and we will see what can be done to recognize their efforts.

KC3RXV

On the subject of new hams, I came across a news story about one new ham in Pennsylvania whose achievement may be noteworthy. Vincent Kahler passed his Technician Exam in February at the ripe old age of 8 years old. https://www.dailyitem.com/news/8-year-old-becomes-youngest-ham-radio-operator-in-montour-county/article_0d8f5666-a361-11eb-9db4-b7622266d15d.html

DAYTON HAMVENTION – MAY 20-22

While it will not be held in person this year, the Dayton Hamvention is being held virtually this year. As part of the muted event, there is a QSO Party and a variety of forums that honor this year’s award winners. Four ICOM radios will be given away during the forum sessions. Info can be found at https://hamvention.org/forums-2021/

HAMFESTS ARE COMING BACK!

KNOXVILLE – June 19, 2021

In the Western portion of the state, amateur operators should make note of the Knoxville Hamfest and Electronics Convention (which is also the Tennessee ARRL State Convention) that will be held at the Kerbela Temple, located at 315 Mimosa Avenue. Event info can be found at http://WWW.W4BBB.ORG.

WCARS (WAYNESVILLE) – July 24, 2021

Set in a beautiful setting at the Haywood County Fairgrounds, this hamfest draws a very friendly group of hams. I have travelled over to Waynesville six times in years past and enjoyed their Hamfest each time. Information about this Hamfest can be found at http://www.wcars.org/wcarshamfest.htm.

CAPE FEAR (FAYETTEVILLE) – AUGUST 14, 2021

Down East hams will want to make note of the 22nd Annual Cape Fear Amateur Radio Swapfest. Information will be posted at the http://www.cfarsnc.org when more details become available.

FCC MATTERS

Reminders:

  1. RF Exposure calculations rules took effective May 3, 2021. Information on how to properly document the exposure and comply with the rules can be found in an informative discussion that can be found at http://forum.near-fest.com/index.php?topic=1546.msg3570#msg3570 .

The FCC ended an exemption for amateur radio. All new stations or modifications to existing stations put on the air after May 3 have to comply and you make read about the process for making the calculations now. Stations that are not modified are required to have the calculations done no later than May 3, 2023. A modification would include adding an amplifier or increasing power, modifying your antenna (length, location, height) or operating on new bands that were not part of your previous calculation or not done under the temporary exemption.

There is a YouTube video about RF Exposure Limits that was prepared by ARRL Board Member, Ria Jairam, N2RJ, and can be found at https://forums.qrz.com/index.php?threads/new-fcc-rf-safety-rules-come-into-effect-on-may-3-what-you-need-to-know.761848/

  1. Email required on all applications filed with the FCC after June 29, 2021. See information posted by the ARRL that can be found at www.arrl.org/news/fcc-to-require-email-address-on-applications-starting-on-june-29-2021
  1. The FCC now requires that all applicants obtain and use a FRN (Federal Registration Number). The FRN protects the privacy of individuals and the FCC will not accept documents (as it once did) with personal Social Security Numbers. If you do not have an FRN, you can obtain one at https://apps.fcc.gov/coresWeb/publicHome.do
  1. There are occasions when you may need an Official Copy of your Amateur Radio License. The FCC no longer mails paper copies of ham licenses but does send hams a link to print out your license whenever you are issued a new license. However, during the term of your current license, you can print out a document that bears the watermark “Official Copy” by following these steps provided by the ARRL: www.arrl.org/obtain-license-copy

ARRL MATTERS

ARRL and the American Red Cross have renewed their Memorandum of Understanding through which ARES® will continue to operate in support of the Red Cross during disasters. http://www.arrl.org/news/arrl-american-red-cross-renew-memorandum-of-understanding

As part of the ARRL Learning Network, ARRL Northwestern Division Director and Board Member, Mike Ritz, W7VO, will make a presentation on HF Noise Mitigation. The seminar will be held at 3 pm. on Thursday, May 6. The link to register is found at http://www.arrl.org/arrl-learning-network

ARRL Director of Emergency Communications, Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, spoke at the Vienna Wireless Society (virtual) Winterfest and outlined changes that are coming to ARES®.

Paul indicated:

His talk and the Q&A session following is brief but informative. It can be seen beginning at the 2:50 minute mark at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lYOSBgWKwGE&t=10223s

ARRL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE

The agenda for the meeting that was held on May 3, 2021 can be found at http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ODV/ARRL%20Executive%20Committee%20Meeting.pdf

Minutes on a different meeting, held in April, can be found at:

http://www.arrl.org/files/file/ODV/Executive%20Committee%20Minutes%20April%202021.pdf

RED CROSS MATTERS:

On Saturday, May 8, 2021, there will be a “nationwide Spring Drill” organized by a group of ham radio operators who are Red Cross volunteers. The activity on May 8 is not being coordinated by ARRL Emergency Management Director Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, or the American Red Cross. Limited information about the drill can be found at http://www.arrl.org/news/nationwide-spring-drill-set-for-may-8-world-red-cross-day

ANNUAL MILITARY CROSS BAND TEST – MAY 7-8

The US Department of Defense conducts a cross-band operation each year as part of the Armed Forces Day Celebration, although the date is shifted each year to accommodate the large number of hams who normally at the Dayton Hamvention.

The Military Cross Band Test is an opportunity for hams to contact various military installations, including Joint Base Andrews and the Pentagon, around the US. Hams listen on posted military frequencies and make contacts on ham frequencies which the military stations will be listening on. A listing of the facilities and the frequencies they will be transmitting on can be found at www.dodmars.org/home/armed-forces-day-2021

APPLICATIONS SOUGHT FOR ASSISTANT SECTION MANAGER(S)

With the resumption of Hamfests beginning and because I will be resuming some classes for NCEM as a Auxcomm course instructor, I am looking for someone, possibly two persons, who would like to serve as an Assistant Section Manager in the North Carolina Section. Duties would include:

  1. Attendance at selected hamfests in order to help with “meet and greet” contacts with hams attending the Hamfest.
  2. Assisting with visits to some of the 117 clubs in the state once in-person meetings resume. Mileage will be reimbursed in accordance with ARRL rules.
  3. Alerting me of the passing of hams so they can be appropriately recognized on the SK list published each month in QST.
  4. Serving as my eyes and ears so that I know of important things going on that warrant attention. This could be events that should be recognized, hams that should be congratulated, and opportunities where ham radio could be demonstrated as with school kids and scout troops.

If interested, send me a message that tells me why you are interested in becoming Assistant Section Manager. Highlight your ham radio career and previous roles where you had a public speaking role on a recurring basis. Identify the ham club(s) to which you belong and how long you have been a member as well as the leadership positions you have held. Give the names of three hams whom you feel know you well and would serve as a reference. The person selected will be in a visible position and which would make them an ideal candidate to become the next NC Section Manager.

ARRL in North Carolina has awakened from its sleep and there will be new opportunities to get more people involved and to have more voices heard.

SHOULD WE ANTICIPATE PRODUCT DELAYS IN THE NEAR FUTURE?

Due to increases in demand now that we are increasingly out and about, the following supply chain problems seem likely and should be anticipated

  1. The CEO of Intel indicated that the current shortage of computer chips will likely continue for 2-3 years. With over 3000 chips inside some new vehicles and everything from toasters, microwaves, washers, driers, refrigerators and tv’s using numerous chips, there is a problem in keeping up with demand. The chip shortages have affected the introduction and production of certain new ham radio transceivers.
  2. TV news indicates that there will be a shortage of Chlorine which will affect swimming pool owners and some manufacturers this summer.
  3. Because a large number of truckers retired or took other jobs last year’, there may be some problems getting gasoline from the various bulk terminals to local pumps. The shortage will not be due to a shortage of crude or refined product but the problem will be in the distribution to the pumps.
  4. A program announced earlier by NC DMV to replace all license plates that are six or more years old has been suspended due to a world-wide shortage of aluminum.. The shortage will primarily affect replacement plates as well as special plates, such as personalized tags, which will be delayed into 2022. https://www.wral.com/aluminum-shortage-forces-dmv-to-hit-brakes-on-plate-replacement-program/19658423/

SOLAR FLARES

Local hams report signs that solar activity is starting to pick up. Periods of excellent propagation on HF leading to easy contacts with DX stations and there have been recent band openings on six meters. All these are giving hope to hams who are chasing DX and are getting ready for Cycle 25 to take off.

WWVB

In a recent newsletter, I mentioned that my three atomic clocks which are supposed to be synchronized by the time signal from WWVB that operates on 60 KHz. Research showed that repairs to the antennas resulted in WWVB operating at half power (30 KW) and was supposed to be back up to full-power by April 9. Several readers contacted me in late April and reported that their atomic clocks were still not correct. Two of my three clocks had become synchronized but the third one had not.

Further research revealed that the repairs were extended to late April. https://www.nist.gov/pml/time-and-frequency-division/time-distribution/radio-station-wwvb

However, the research also led to a discussion of how the WWVB signal is modulated to carry the time signal. As many of you know, carrier frequency and bandwidth affect the data rate that can be carried. The very low frequency WWVB signal (60 KHz) requires a very slow transmission of the time signal and so-called atomic clocks apparently require solid copy of the WWVB signal for one minute to get the entire time data stream. One night, I glanced over toward the errant clock and noticed that the signal icon on the errant clock blinked on and off so it was not likely getting a continuous one minute time signal. Moving it off a north-south facing wall and leaving it there overnight caused it to synchronize with the two clocks on east-west facing walls.

Finally, on the subject of clocks, not all digital clocks and devices get their time signals from WWVB. All tv transmitters, cell sites, simulcast public safety systems and internet switching centers get their time from the GPS system from which a 10 MHz signal can be derived as being accurate to 1 x 10-13.

Very Low Frequency transmissions are used by the US Navy to reach submerged submarines. Navy Radio Station Cutler (NAA) operates on frequencies between 14 and 24 Kilohertz and send three-letter code group messages that take several minutes to be received and decoded by submarines. A message might be an instruction to rise to periscope depth and get instructions via satellite.

Radio Station Cutler operates at 2 megawatts but can increase its power to 15 megawatts when needed. See http://www.navy-radio.com/commsta/cutler.htm

HURRICANE OUTLOOK

Predictions are coming in that 2021 will involve an active hurricane season.

Colorado State University researchers, whose prediction model is quite highly respected, are predicting 17 named tropical storms, 8 hurricanes and 4 major hurricanes. NOAA reports that an average hurricane season this year which will include more storms than in the past average years because of rising ocean temperatures in the Caribbean and Gulf waters.

https://www.wsfa.com/2021/04/12/hurricane-season-expected-be-more-active-than-average/ https://www.noaa.gov/media-release/average-atlantic-hurricane-season-to-reflect-more-storms https://tropical.colostate.edu/Forecast/2021-04.pdf

CLOSING COMMENT

Residents of Watauga County are in deep mourning over the loss of two deputy sheriffs who died performing a welfare check at a residence around 9:30 a.m. last Wednesday. Employers alerted law enforcement that parents at a home had not come to work and deputies went to check on them. Previous calls involved a troubled son.

Upon entering the home and going down a stairs, a male started firing weapons at the deputies. One deputy remained in the house, one was dragged out and airlifted to a trauma center and another officer later was no doubt saved by his Kevlar helmet and shield, both of which were damaged by bullets. A thirteen-hour standoff ensured during which sporadic gunfire came from the home.

A massive response by nearly twenty law enforcement agencies ensued but care had to be taken because of the hope that the deputy and the parents may still be alive despite the continued gunfire. At the end of the standoff around 10:30 pm, it was determined that the deputy and both parents were dead and that the shooter had taken his own life.

A huge outpouring of grief is occurring up here.

Funerals for both deputies will be held Thursday at the ASU Holmes Convocation Center. The procession returning the bodies of the two slain Deputies back to Boone from the Medical Examiner’s Office in Winston-Salem last Friday involved over 150 public safety vehicles. In addition, every on-ramp along US 421 and each traffic light on the route westbound between Winston-Salem and Boone was blocked to allow the procession to pass uninterrupted. Fire and rescue vehicles, police cars and ambulances lined the route and were on the overpasses. Public safety colleagues and ordinary citizens stopped to honor these brave Deputies as the procession passed through Forsyth, Yadkin, Wilkes and Watauga Counties.

Nothing will bring back the deputies and the grief experienced by their families is unimaginable. Their colleagues in our law enforcement up here will persevere but they, too, are experiencing a tremendous amount of grief.

Rest in Peace Sergeant Chris Ward and Deputy Logan Fox. You served us with valor, integrity and bravery and your community will never forget you.

Marv, WA4NC
NC Section Manager
Boone