Friday, September 09, 2005
Event number 1.
Saturday there is a "Road Trip" scheduled with the gang from the Skyview Radio Society and friends to Amateur Electronic Supply in Cleveland. Everyone plans to meet at Kings Family Restaurant in Harmarville, near exit 48 of the Pennsylvania Turn Pike, around 07:00 for breakfast. After a hearty meal and some good conversation the plan is to head west working two meters and some high frequency bands along the way.
The group plans to descend on them like a heard of turtles! We will spend time drooling over all the neat toys, turning the knobs and dials and watching the digital displays dance. Some of the lucky ones may even bring a few of those toys home with them.
Everyone is welcome to come along. So if you are a scanner listener or SWL out there that has an interest in short wave or amateur radio just show up and introduce yourself. The more the merrier. After the plunder of AES the group will probably find a place for lunch before heading east for the return trip home. These trips are always fun and if you can make it I'm surer you won't be disappointed.
Event number 2.
The next day, Sunday, The 28th Annual Butler Hamfest and Computer Show. This is the other big amateur radio event in Pittsburgh along with the Breeze Shooter's Hamfest held at the same location in the spring of the year. Lots of flea market tailgating space and indoor vendors. A great line up of prizes and being a ham radio event there will be good stuff to eat! Follow the above link for additional details and directions to the show.
So lots to do and plenty of good times here at the end of the summer. Hope to see you there.
Rail Fan Article
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
News Story by Todd R. Weiss
SEPTEMBER 06, 2005 (COMPUTERWORLD) -
Some 700 ham radio volunteers from around the nation are already at work helping in the efforts, with more on the way, said Allen Pitts, a spokesman for the 157,000-member American Radio Relay League Inc. (ARRL), a nationwide amateur radio organization based in Newington, Conn. "This is going to be a marathon, not a sprint," Pitts said. "We have people there; we have more people coming." On Sunday, the American Red Cross asked for about 500 more radio operators to assist at shelters and food kitchens set up to aid evacuees, he said. The volunteers are driving to needed areas and meeting with officials at staging areas in Montgomery, Ala., and in Oklahoma and Texas, where they are being dispatched to disaster shelters, Pitts said. Theham radio operators travel to the disaster areas using their own vehicles and pay their own way, he said.
Many of the volunteers sprung into action even before the storm struck the Gulf Coast, broadcasting as part of a "Hurricane Watch-Net" three days before deadly Hurricane Katrina slammed into the coast on Aug. 29, Pitts said. Ham radio equipment can be used in disaster areas even when power is out and phone lines, relays and other communications systems are down because the radios run on their own battery or generator power, Pitts said. "Each one is a complete transmission and reception center unto itself," he said. "It works when other stuff is broken. You give an amateur radio operator a battery, a radio and a piece of a coat hanger and they'll find a way to make it work."
The volunteers carry their own fuel for their generators and bring all the equipment they need. Used ham radio systems can be bought for as little as $100, while newer, state-of-the-art hardware can run as high as $5,000, he said. Ham radio operators can also use their equipment with laptop-based computer software to help re-establish e-mail access over the Internet to further assist with communications, Pitts said.
Other disaster assistance agencies, including the Salvation Army, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, the U.S. Coast Guard and the Department of Homeland Security, have also sought help from ham radio operators, Pitts said. Late last week, the Washington-based Corporation for National and Community Service, a federal agency for volunteer service, announced a supplemental $100,000 grant to help ARRL volunteers with their expenses as they travel to and stay in the areas where hurricane victims are receiving
"With the breakdown of regular communication channels caused by the storm, the services provided by volunteer ham radio operators [are] vitally important, both to organizations and to individuals seeking to connect with loved ones," agency CEO David Eisner said in a statement. "We're pleased to be able to provide this extra assistance at this critical time." The money will be used as part of the ARRL's "Ham Aid" program, established with a
grant from the Corporation in 2002 to increase emergency certification training for ham radio operators.
Mary Hobart, chief development officer at the ARRL, said in a statement that this marks the first time in the ARRL's 90-year history that it will be able to reimburse some of the expenses incurred by members responding to disasters. Volunteer radio operators will be at various sites for the duration of this disaster response, which could run into several weeks or months, according to the group. Several ARRL members have already played key roles in the rescue efforts by connecting storm victims with emergency responders. In one such incident, a radio operator helped organize the rescue of 15 people stranded by floodwaters on the roof of a house in New Orleans, according to an ARRL statement.
From the Motorola web site:
Thanks to Bill, WB3BUW, for this information.
I base that judgment on the following statement from Mr. Jim Screeden who according to the article is the head of all of Motorola's field repair teams for their emergency response business. He said and I quote.
“Something is better than nothing, that's right, But ham radios are pretty close to nothing.”
Why do I have the feeling that Mr. Screeden has never been on the ground, in the field, in the aftermath of a major disaster like Katrina in the gulf or Hurricane Andrew in Florida? I for one plan to let some of the hams that I know have had their boots on the ground in those situations both as amateur radio operators and as representatives of Motorola who supply much of the land mobile communications gear used by public safety departments about these remarks.
I am great full for the Wall Street Journal article as the reporter obviously thought enough of the benefits of ham radio to write a story about it. When the dust settles and the evaluation begins of what was done wrong and right I hope we find out that Mr. Screeden made his statement to the reporter after he had been without sleep for seventy two hours and was running on caffeine. Ham radio operators put their time, talent, their own money and sometimes their personal safety on the line to provide communications in these situations. I think they deserve better in the way of acknowledgment.
So far I have found only two. In a previous post I have a link about an on the air interview that was done with an amateur radio operator on National Public Radio's All Things Considered show. Today there was an article by Christopher Rhoads in the Wall Street Journal. While well written and showing amateur radio in a good light I was surprised to find that there are detractors of our hobby and for that I am somewhat disappointed. I have written specifically about those remarks and will let you be the judge of their validity. I do want to thank Mr. Rhoads and the Wall Street Journal for their attention to what I consider to be not only a hobby but also an asset to our society.
As Telecom Reels
From Storm Damage,
Ham Radios Hum
By CHRISTOPHER RHOADS
Staff Reporter of THE WALL STREET JOURNAL
September 6, 2005; Page A19
MONROE, La. -- In a shelter here, 300 miles north of New Orleans, Theo McDaniel took his plight to a young man fiddling with a clunky, outdated-looking radio.
Mr. McDaniel, a 25-year-old barber, had evacuated New Orleans with his wife and two small children more than a week ago and since then had had no contact with his brother or his aunt. The last he heard, his 42-year-old aunt was clinging to her roof.
"We've got to get a message down there to help them," he said. The man at the radio sent the information to the emergency-operations center across town, which relayed it to rescue units in New Orleans. Later in the weekend, Mr. McDaniel learned that food and water were on the way to his trapped brother and his brother's young family. He had heard nothing about his aunt.
For the complete story please follow this link.
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
New Orleans Slide Presentation
Monday, September 05, 2005
That said here is a web site that will be of interest for several reasons. The South West Astronomy Observers Group. It has lots of good astronomy information on it and best of all, at least from my perspective, the members of the group who are hams hold an on the air net related to astronomy and they Pod Cast it. I'm listening to a recent net as I type this and there is a LOT of good content. So after you view the webs site make sure you download the audio sessions of past nets and listen in. Great resource for hams that are star gazers.
Radio Reference Katrina Resource Page