Jamboree On The Air 2015 Stations Urged to Register, Report

As of October 1, more than 350 US stations had signed up to take part in the 2015 Jamboree On The Air (JOTA). The 58th annual event takes place October 16-18, and JOTA organizers are urging all who plan to participate to register, so they can provide a list of participating stations and their locations. A list of US-registered stations is available on the K2BSA website. JOTA is aimed at fostering Scout-to-Scout communication across borders and is the largest Scouting event in the world. Last year worldwide Scouting participation included 1.1 million Boy Scouts and another 200,000 Girl Guides/Girl Scouts. In the US 13,326 Scouts and visitors took part in JOTA 2014. The Boy Scouts also encourage participating stations to submit JOTA reports and photos following this month’s event.

“We need your report to demonstrate the success of JOTA to those in Scouting and Amateur Radio,” said Jim Wilson, K5ND, the national JOTA organizer. He asked participating JOTA stations to note down the number of Scouts participating, Amateur Radio licensees, and radios on the air, as well as the total number of contacts and states and countries contacted.

“We would also like to see your best photos and hear some stories about your event,” Wilson said.

The K2BSA call sign will be in use for JOTA from every US call district as well as from KH6 and KL7. Wilson suggested that JOTA groups consider obtaining 1 × 1 special event call signs for their operations.

ARRL Education & Technology Program Grant Application Deadline Looms

November 1 is the deadline for schools to apply for 2016 ARRL Education & Technology Program ( ETP) grants.

The ETP offers two types of grants. School Station Grants are awarded to schools providing a plan to use Amateur Radio as part of an enrichment program and/or as part of in-classroom learning. ETP Progress Grants offer modest support to teachers now using Amateur Radio as an instructional tool who need additional resources for specific purposes. Progress grants are also available for teachers who need resources to start teaching wireless technology and electronics topics as part of a longer-range plan to involve Amateur Radio.

A primary ETP objective is to boost wireless technology literacy among US students and educators through Amateur Radio.

“Amateur Radio provides hands-on opportunities for students to learn about radio science!” said ARRL Educational Services Manager Debra Johnson, K1DMJ. “We look for commitment from teachers and school administrators, a well-conceived plan to use the resources to engage students, and a working relationship with local ham radio volunteers who are willing to serve as mentors,” she explained.

Applicants should review and complete the ETP grant application form. Submitted applications are evaluated on several criteria.

The ETP depends upon the sustaining support of the Amateur Radio community. Since its inception in 2000, the program has grown to benefit more than 550 schools. The program welcomes your donation. For more information, contact Debra Johnson, K1DMJ, at ARRL Headquarters.


Courtesy ARRL Letter 10/8/2015

ARRL President Congratulates Hurricane Watch Net on its 50th Anniversary

On behalf of the League, ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, has congratulated the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on the 50th anniversary of its founding by Jerry Murphy, K8YUW.

“Thanks to the efforts of the Net’s dedicated and knowledgeable volunteers across 5 decades, Amateur Radio has played a key role in helping protect the lives of a great many people in harm’s way,” President Craigie told HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, this week in an e-mail. “The Net demonstrates how significantly Amateur Radio contributes to emergency preparedness and promotes international goodwill. Please relay to the Net’s members my appreciation and respect for a half-century of outstanding service. Best wishes for many more years of successful operation of the Hurricane Watch Net.”

Graves replied, “It is an honor and pleasure to be a part of such a great group of ham radio operators with a rich history. I will certainly share your letter with our membership and, more importantly, with our founder, Jerry Murphy, K8YUW.” Murphy founded the HWN in 1965 during Hurricane Betsy as “an informal group of radio amateurs who recognized a need to provide communications to and from hurricane affected areas.” The net now enjoys a formal relationship with the National Hurricane Center and its WX4NHC amateur station.

The HWN stood down on October 4 after activating more than once for Hurricane Joaquin, at one point a dangerous Category 4 storm. Graves called the activations “very successful in that we had many more reporting stations and lots of data to forward to the National Hurricane Center in Miami.” The HWN had reactivated as Joaquin posed a threat to Bermuda after battering the Bahamas with high winds and heavy rainfall. “Joaquin passed just to the west [of Bermuda] as a Category 2 hurricane, sparing everyone from the extremely damaging winds,” Graves noted over the weekend after the net had shut down for the last time. “For the most part, in addition to lots of heavy rain, on-and-off power outages were reported throughout the day.”

The HWN suspended its initial activation for Hurricane Joaquin on October 2, after 3 days of near-continuous operation, only to reactivate on October 3. Although the storm did not make landfall on the East Coast of the US, it caused torrential rainfall and severe flooding in the Carolinas, and has been blamed for more than a dozen deaths.

The HWN activates on 14.325 MHz whenever a hurricane is within 300 miles of projected landfall or becomes a serious threat to a populated area.


Courtesy of the ARRL Letter 10/8/2015

From the National Weather Service

Coastal residents of Mexico and southwestern US are watching the development of a second hurricane in the Eastern Pacific. Tropical Storm Blanca formed today east of Cat 4 Hurricane Andres. TS Blanca will be a major hurricane in the coming hours and track northwest along the coast of Mexico. Let’s keep our radio equipment ready to help. June 1 is the grand opening of Hurricane Season.

USNO Joint Typhoon Warning Center: http://www.usno.navy.mil/JTWC/
National Hurricane Center: http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/?epac

From the ARRL Letter june 4, 2015

Texas, Oklahoma Ham Volunteers Stand Down Following Spate of Severe Weather

Severe storms and flooding in Texas and Oklahoma that extended beyond the Memorial Day holiday weekend kept ARES and SKYWARN volunteers busy or on alert through the rest of May, which now is being crowned as the wettest month on record in both states. Texas received more than 8.8 inches of rainfall during May, while Oklahoma got a whopping 14.4 inches. Wichita Falls, Texas, saw 17 inches of rain

Flooding on the North Canadian River below the Lake Overholser Dam in Oklahoma City.

during May, while Oklahoma City got nearly 19.5 inches. The resulting flooding and property damage — with some severe wind incidents thrown in — caused numerous ARES callouts and SKYWARN net activations.

In Oklahoma, Section Emergency Coordinator Mark Conklin, N7XYO, said Amateur Radio volunteers provided communication for several American Red Cross damage assessment teams in the wake of flooding in Comanche County and elsewhere. “ARES-OK volunteers in action this month have provided 436 hours of service,” Conklin reported on May 31. “Teams were deployed to the Bridge Creek community and Comanche and Leflore counties. In addition, Conklin added, nearly every storm complex that rolled through Oklahoma spawned numerous SKYWARN nets with volunteers providing “many hours of service.”

ARES teams in his state stood down on June 2.

Flooding at Barton Springs Pool in Austin, Texas.

South Texas Section Emergency Coordinator Frank Aguilar, N5SSH, said all districts in his Section had stood down by June 1. “Weather events are over, and the forecast does not show rain for the next week or two, which means search and rescue and clean-up will be the main focus,” he said. A summary of activity showed that ARES volunteers assisted in local emergency operations centers and the Red Cross. In addition, he noted, SKYWARN nets were called up in vulnerable counties, and other ARES teams remained on standby in case they were needed.

ARRL South Texas Section Manager Lee Cooper, W5LHC, called the spate of heavy rainfall, tornadoes, and flooding over some two-thirds of his state “pretty much unprecedented” for the region. “The main event is over,” Cooper said this week. “We are looking at a approximately 10-day period of dry sunny weather in South Texas and do not anticipate any additional activations.”

This spring’s torrential rains stood in stark contrast to the severe drought the region had experienced over the past few years. May’s heavy rains have been linked to a burgeoning El Niño in the Pacific.

While fair weather returned to the region this week, forecasters fear the now rain-saturated ground could make things worse during the hurricane season, which began on June 1.


WX4NHC Reports It’s Ready for Hurricane Season

WX4NHC, the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC) in Miami, reports that it has stood the test and is ready for the 2015 Hurricane Season, which began on June 1 and will continue through November. WX4NHC conducted its Annual Station Test on May 30, at the end of Hurricane Preparedness Week. This marked the 35th year of volunteer public service by the WX4NHC Group at the NHC. WX4NHC Amateur Radio Asst. Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, said the station was tested on many frequencies and modes, including digital modes, and that all radio equipment and antennas performed well.

“The WX4NHC test event is also good practice for Amateur Radio operators worldwide, but especially in hurricane prone areas, to test their station’s ability to contact WX4NHC, should they need to during a hurricane,” Ripoll said. “It was also a good opportunity for NWS Office staff to become aware of the unique capabilities of Amateur Radio during severe weather and disaster communications, when conventional communication modes fail.”

NOAA’s Climate Prediction Center has forecast that the 2015 Atlantic hurricane season will likely be below normal, but, it added, “that’s no reason to believe coastal areas will have it easy.”

For the 2015 hurricane season, NOAA has predicted a 70 percent likelihood of anywhere from six to 11 named storms (winds of 39 MPH or higher), of which three to six could become hurricanes (winds of 74 MPH or higher). That forecast included up to two “major hurricanes” (Category 3, 4, or 5) with winds of 111 MPH or greater.

“A below-normal season doesn’t mean we’re off the hook,” NOAA Administrator Kathryn Sullivan said. “As we’ve seen before, below-normal seasons can still produce catastrophic impacts to communities.”

Ripoll said WX4NHC logged contacts during the test with some emergency communication notables. These included FEMA Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ, on EchoLink and on the Florida UHF SARnet, plus a 20 meter contact with FEMA Chief Technical Officer Ted Okada, K4HNL. WX4NHC also worked ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, and Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV.

“Mike, Bobby, Craig, and Ted all understand very well how Amateur Radio can help their communities during and after severe weather and other natural disasters,” Ripoll said. “We expressed our thanks to all of them for their strong support of the Amateur Radio volunteers and WX4NHC.” Ripoll also expressed appreciation to SKYWARN volunteers.

“You may never know, but your efforts may someday save someone’s life,” he added.

WX4NHC during the 2015 Station Test: (L-R) Julio Ripoll, WD4R; Lloyd Kurtzman, N4LJK; Jan Lederman, K9JCL, and John McHugh, K4AG.

During the 8-hour test, contacts were made and surface reports received from many stations throughout the US and Canada, as well as in the Caribbean, Central America, and South America, Ripoll said. He noted that more than 40 D-STAR/D-RATS surface weather reports were received at WX4NHC. John Davis, WB4QDX, coordinated the D-Star/D-RATS net and reporting, Ripoll said.

“We are excited of the potential that D-STAR/D-RATS modes can produce hurricane surface reports in a similar format that is used at WX4NHC,” he said. “These reports may someday fill a very important gap in surface data during a hurricane that we could not receive on other modes.”

WX4NHC also took part in the Florida State Hurricane Exercise on the UHF SARnet, making contacts throughout Florida and with stations in emergency operations centers. SARnet currently has 25 UHF repeaters connected statewide, including one on the NHC campus.



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