Archive for the ‘arrl’ Category

Public Libraries: New Served Agencies?

A long-used term by the American Radio Relay League, the National Association for Amateur Radio, is “served agency.” Almost without exception, it refers to a government agency or non-governmental organization that provides vital response support in times of disaster or, at least, in times of public service. In fact, the ARRL has official memos of understanding with many key agencies to which they promise their members or affiliates will “serve” as this screenshot from the League’s website details.

There is also an “educational outreach” page on the ARRL website. It lists programs, brochures, videos, suggestions on how to speak to youth groups, and small grants for educational outreach. But nowhere does it get the urgency, importance, or strategic planning that the “served agency” page does.

Recently, the ARRL Board approved a Life Long Learning Program, focusing on “offer[ing] a variety of learning opportunities for new, current and prospective amateur radio operators.” It mentions “youth and school resources” with ready-made presentation slides, videos, and associated materials, including a budding array of online courses. But only through school resources are libraries mentioned. Yet, the Gallup survey organization identified one leisure activity as “the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far.” That activity is visiting a public library.

The average 10.5 trips to the library U.S. adults report taking in 2019 exceeds their participation in eight other common leisure activities.…it’s the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far.”

Gallup Survey Organization

Schools and their teachers are already the foci of the League’s attention for outreach. And, from teachers whom I know who have been among the dozen or so each summer who attended the Teacher Institute, it’s a good thing. It uses the well-oiled “train-the-trainer” model of subject matter material propagation. I don’t know if there has ever been an evaluation of the program, following up and documenting how many new hams got licensed or even how many students got exposed to amateur radio after the teacher-trainer returned home. If so, I’ve just missed it. But until that happens, we just do not have common measurable outcomes on how effective the Teacher Institute is for getting students into the amateur radio hobby.

Gallup survey data recently revealed that U.S. adults attend the library on average about 10 months out of the year. This is more than they attend movies. And far more than parks or casinos. Women visit libraries twice as much as men. Hmm. That’s a population segment that amateur radio largely misses out on. And, young adults aged 18-29 attend public libraries more than any other age group. Isn’t the League trying to gain penetration into the youth market segment? The 30-49 age group is just behind the younger age group in library visits but this tapers off after age 50 onward until the typical retirement group of 65 years and beyond.

Women visit libraries twice as much as men. Hmm. That’s a population segment that amateur radio misses out on. And, young adults aged 18-29 attend libraries more than any other age group. Isn’t the League trying to gain penetration into the female and youth market segments?

Frank K4FMH

They are there, at the public library, but will we hams come? I’m reminded of the famous quote by the notorius bank robber, Willie Sutton. “I rob banks because that’s where the money is,” Willie Sutton supposedly said to news reporter Robert M. Yoder. Women and young people are at the library more than any other single public place.

Should the priority of educational outreach as one of the National Association for Amateur Radio’s goals include key educational outreach organizations as “served agencies”?

Here is a small look at the potential to reach young people in public libraries, taken from the latest Public Library Survey data available (2017) and only for the four states in the Delta Division (AR, LA, MS, TN). Over a year’s time, the 365 public library systems (actual outlets like branch libraries and bookmobiles total far greater but aggregate to the system) report these levels of traffic inside their brick-and-mortar locations, shown in the table below. The 9 million registered borrowers contribute to over 55 million visits during the year which also include unregistered borrowers. Over 5 million attend formal programs at these libraries, comprising over 3.3 million at children’s programs and a half million at young adult programs. This totals about 4 million persons in the youth market in just these four states alone. In addition, a total of 10.7 million wireless Internet sessions were utilized by patrons. This potential market traffic comes into the doors of brick-and-mortar public libraries. They reflect a clear and present target audience for the ARRL’s stated educational outreach audience. And, far easier to reach than via the school setting.

A new program that I described in a recent blog post describes one attempt by the Delta Division to leverage a current ARRL deep-discount sales program to begin raising public libraries to “served agency” status. This is the Plant the Seed! Initiative. It will be followed by the Sow the Future program, described below. The League has only recently begun using demographic data analytics to identify, understand, and reach out to desired market segments. While it’s just being rolled out to the Delta Division of four Sections in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Tennessee, it is scalable to the all Divisions. Here’s how it works.

The ARRL has a set of 10 key books, including the two popular ones (Handbook & Antenna Handbook), for sale at a flat fee of $200 which includes shipping. They are only for library donations. Hence, the product is called the ARRL Library Book Set. For many clubs, the per-member cost of this set is less than $5.00. It’s less than a slice of pizza at a ham club lunch. The issue is that hams vary widely in their familiarity with their local library, although some might even be the Library Director! So what is the “social ecology” of where amateur radio clubs are located versus local libraries?

Public Libraries and Nearest Amateur Radio Club, Delta Division

I extracted the ARRL affiliated clubs in the Delta Division from the ARRL Find a Club webpage. There were geocoded to varying levels of accuracy (some at the city level). The Public Library Survey that is produced annually was used as the database for library systems (branches and bookmobiles are note used here but could be). The 2016 data are the most recent available. A script to conduct a spatial search for the nearest club to each library, within each Section so all clubs and libraries are within the section boundaries, was created and executed using GIS software. The results placed over a basemap is shown above.

A couple of things emerge from this spatial representation. Some clubs are the closest one to many public libraries. In one case (Bossier City, LA), there is no library for which that club is the nearest. This is due to a nearby one in Shreveport that just happens to nose it out, so to speak, in terms of the geocoded club locations and the libraries. So, the clubs and communicate between themselves, perhaps in concert with the Section Manager, to use this map and a master list of public libraries and clubs in the Section, to determine which libraries should receive the book set donations from each club. Similarly, in another city (Starkville MS), one club is nearest to a public library several counties to the west while the other is closest to several nearby. Again, club officer communication along with the Section Manager, uses these results as they were meant to be: just a guide to the local area terrain for libraries and amateur radio clubs.

Delta Division Director David Norris K5UZ has communicated to each Section Manager with a “challenge” to see which Section can serve the most libraries. Right now, Mississippi and Malcolm W5XX is in the lead, mainly because my club, the Central Mississippi ARA, has taken delivery of two ARRL Book Sets for donation to libraries in Rankin County (Central MS Library System) and Madison County. We’ve communicated with the President of the Jackson ARC who will take the lead on the Hinds County (Jackson) Public Library System. Checking the online catalog of ARRL book holdings is an important act. The Central MS Library System had several titles but all were more than a decade old. Madison County, which has the highest median income in the State, had almost none. Surprising but that’s why we should always check a library’s online catalog of current holdings beforehand.

Getting the library’s Director involved in the donation is also vital. Don’t just “drop off” the donation at the check-out desk. Easy for the club official but terrible for the library staff. Library’s just don’t work that way regarding collection development. This “drop off” may well just get the blister wrapped donation of 10 books placed in the next sidewalk sale of the library. Take the time to get the Library Director involved. Get that person in the public relations photo and narrative as welcoming the donation so their acceptance is in the public view. Execute due diligence in this strategic investment for amateur radio. More work but far greater pay-off.

David K5UZ and I also provided an online Dropbox folder system for the “paperwork” to facilitate the implementation of this Plant the Seed! Initiative. Sub-folders include the logo, the map of the spatial ecology of clubs and public libraries (see above), a narrative document which both announces the Initiative, gives a description of the Dropbox file system and the link to it, and recommendations for Section Managers to implement the program within the Section. Finally, and this is a key to facilitating the Section Manager’s job of both encouraging and managing the roll-out of the Initiative in his Section, we created four spreadsheets. Two are the master list of ARRL affiliated clubs and public libraries in each Section. A third is a list of clubs with nearest public libraries. This gives the Section Manager an overview of the Section and helps in advising clubs on libraries to serve (see discussion above). Finally, separate spreadsheets for each club in the Section were created. This allows the SM to just email a single spreadsheet to a given club using the email contact within that individual.

These procedures reduce but do not eliminate confusion over the suggestions made to clubs. Imagine, however, just advocating that clubs donate to their libraries. Here’s the link to purchase at Go to it, clubs. Check off that box. Done! Wow. That would be worse than stepping on an unseen covey of quail! More importantly, it would be destined for failure in terms of making a systemic impact on getting amateur radio material into public libraries.

It would also not create an ongoing relationship between the club and the library itself. The follow-up effort is called the Sow the Future portion of this Initiative. Offering programs on amateur radio at the local library leverages the initial book donation and benefits the library staff who are charged with creating programs for the public. This activity by ARRL affiliated clubs “serves” the public library in a very beneficial way. But it doesn’t happen without systematic planning. Planning the spatial ecology of linking national organizations like the ARRL and one or more of their Divisions to their Sections and their Sections to affiliated clubs is critical. It’s the return on the investment of the $200 set of books to get a continuing “served agency” relationship of giving programs on the amateur radio hobby at that recipient library.

Remember, Section Managers report to the Field Services Coordinator in most day-to-day matters. Getting the organizational links among the League, Division Directors (who comprise the governing Board for the League itself), Section Mangers, loosely affiliated Clubs, and individual ham operators is far from being a well-oiled or even well thought out machine. Hams who are not League members may be members of an ARRL-affiliated club. Or no club at all. So the final link in this chain is only a part of the ham radio operator market. But it’s the market that the League deals with most of the time. The need to use demographic data analytics like this becomes crucial in a loosely-coupled organizational ecology that is the case with amateur radio in the United States. The approach outlined here is just one example of using them to plan a new set of links in this ecology.

We hope that this Initiative will be met positively by clubs and their members. It’s a nominal financial commitment by clubs on a per-member basis. Doing the final leg-work on establishing an ongoing relationship with one or more local libraries is as important as the $200 donation of books. David Norris K5UZ is investigating whether it’s feasible to get the digital version of the new On the Air magazine available to recipient public libraries to leverage the wireless Internet access by registered borrowers. We will see how that materializes.

Public libraries are the dominant local community organization through which to consistently reach both women and youth, from the recent Gallup report’s findings. Libraries should be viewed as “served agencies” for educational outreach much as the League advocates ARES teams serving critical organizations in times of emergency. Or a bike race, which is more often the case. Because libraries are where the “money” is.

Plant the Seed! Sow the Future

There is much rhetoric in amateur radio about getting more people into the hobby. Especially young people. The ARRL has a Teachers Institute which reflects the conventional “train-the-trainer” model of getting K-12 school teachers (mostly) into ham radio in order to expose their students to the fun and learning. The challenge of this is that it’s quite small, even when effective.

Moreover, clubs face increasing challenges simply getting into schools, particularly public schools, to offer programs to students. It doesn’t take much imagination for a school administrator to evaluate the typical proposition. Hmm, a group of usually old guys want to spend time with students during or after school to talk about something called “ham radio.” I can say no and that’s that. I have no consequences in my decision. I can say yes but I need to do background checks to rule out folks on some nefarious list, find a teacher who will stay with them to watch over the process, deal with space requests and insurance liability (“Can we put up an antenna permanently?”) and so forth. If something bad happens, I have to deal with that and I could get demoted or worse, fired. Which option would you most likely take if you were the administrator and not a licensed amateur radio operator yourself? I have only spoken with a few Principals and Superintendents but I was told by these career professionals that this is likely to occur in many instances. It varies, of course, but this does illustrate the vagaries of getting programs from outside into schools these days.

Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far.

Gallup Poll Report, 2019

The ARRL and other EmComm groups often use the term, “served agency,” to indicate an agency or organization needing specific attention by amateur radio groups. We have yet to implement a similar perspective or approach for educational outreach, from everything I’ve read. Schools can be one. But so can public libraries. In fact, Gallup just reported from one of their surveys that “Visiting the library remains the most common cultural activity Americans engage in, by far.” Visits to libraries were 10.5 per year in 2019 which exceeds eight other leisure time activities. Library visits were about double annual visits to movies (5.3 per year).

The number of public libraries in 2016 (latest year data is available, covering 98% of the total public libraries in the U.S.) is more than 17,000 central libraries, branches, and bookmobiles in more than 9,000 public library systems. According to my analysis of the 2016 data, this includes a median of 122 children’s program per year, which means at least one half of the 9,000 or so public library systems had at least that many programs directed toward children. (This includes 205 that reported having zero programs directed towards children.) There is potential here!

Public libraries may well be a more efficient “served agency” within which to reach children, young adults and older persons in communities as compared to schools. I do not make this argument to lessen the attempts to get amateur radio curriculum and experiences into schools but simply want to emphasize the untapped potential that the Public Library System has for reaching the public to promote amateur radio.

Which Section can get the most libraries served by constituent ARRL Affiliated Clubs donating the League’s 10-book Library Set to libraries near them?

David Norris K5UZ ARRL Delta Division Director

Starting with the ARRL Louisiana Section Convention in Minden LA last December and continuing to last weekend’s Mississippi Section Convention in Jackson, Delta Division Director David Norris K5UZ and I created a new program just announced in Jackson. It’s the Plant the Seed! Initiative. It’s being rolled-out in the four Sections comprising the Delta Division as a Director’s Challenge to the Section Managers. Which Section can get the most libraries served by constituent ARRL Affiliated Clubs donating the League’s 10-book Library Set to libraries near them? The League offers these book sets, including the two big ones (Handbook, Antenna Handbook), for $200 including shipping. The contents and offer description from the ARRL website is as follows:

Special money saving offer! This book set includes popular ARRL publications, intended for clubs or individuals that wish to make a gift to a local library or school. Only complete sets of these publications are available at the special price of $200 per set. Price includes ground shipping throughout the 48 contiguous states, only. Call for other shipping options. Editions sent will be those available at the time the order is received. Publications and prices are subject to change without notice. This special offer applies only to orders purchased directly from ARRL. Orders must be pre-paid.

ARRL No. Title Value (Retail Price)
 4050    ARRL Handbook $49.95
 6948    ARRL Antenna Book $49.95
 5965    ARRL Operating Manual $29.95
 #9857   ARRL Satellite Handbook $24.95
 0977    Ham Radio License Manual $29.95
 8119    ARRL General Class License Manual $29.95
 5170    ARRL Extra Class License Manual $29.95
 0823    Understanding Basic Electronics $32.95
 0915    RFI Book $29.95
 8737    ARRL Instructor's Manual $19.95
 9728    Getting Started with Ham Radio $19.95
 1173    FCC Rules and Regulations $5.95
 7717    ARRL Map of the World (Azimuthal) $15.00

As David said in his announcement to Section Managers on Friday, “This Initiative has indeed already begun. The Mississippi Section’s affiliated club, the Central Mississippi Amateur Radio Association, has already obtained two (2) commitments: one from the Board who challenged the membership to match which they quickly did. Other clubs can quickly follow suit. As described below, the affiliated club membership numbers show that the donation per-member to reach the $200 goal is minimal, ranging from $1.46 to $40.00 in the Division with an average of $7.36 (median is $5.00). So, for the average price per-member of less than ten dollars, ARRL-affiliated clubs can plant the seed of amateur radio and sow the future of the hobby.” CMSARA’s two sets of book have already been delivered and the club has identified two area libraries that will receive them shortly.

The median contribution throughout the Delta Division of just $5 per club member can potentially reach many people in the community for years to come. I constructed a map using GIS software and databases to identify which club is nearest each public library. These are shown by (tan) lines below. Spreadsheets were then exported for each of the four Sections and, within each Section, each club. These files are stored online with a link included in David’s email to each SM in the Delta Division. The Section Manager can email the club contact using information in each club’s spreadsheet with their customized listing of potential “served libraries” nearest them. This makes it very easy for Section Managers and local clubs to consider the Initiative and take action without much spin-up on their end.

Map of Delta Division Clubs (Red) and nearest public libraries (Green) linked by lines (Tan)

Vice Director Ed Hudgens WB4RHQ added, “This is a very exciting Initiative that we are launching. It puts action in the hands of local ham groups who can easily make an impact in their communities with public libraries.” I’d have to agree with Ed’s sentiments. It’s not a vague idea to change the world waiting for “big things” to happen. The Plant the Seed! Initiative is something that for less than a pizza or hamburger lunch per member, a local club can get a broad set of books from the ARRL onto the shelves of a local public library. Getting a photo of the donation into the local newspaper wouldn’t be a bad thing for the club, either. I hope you’ll agree. You can spread the word by copying the logo I created for the Delta Division Initiative below and using it to promote the program in your club, section or Division. The Delta Division has already started and Malcolm’s (W5XX) Section is in the lead. You’re playing catch-up…but the competition is what this kind of “radiosport” is all about. And to Sow the Future of the amateur radio hobby.

For those of you out there

who have a real yen for Amateur Radio contesting and Radiosport competition in general ........... I ran across this announcement on the ARRL Webpage the other day.

The State QSO Party Challenge is a competition comprised of other contests, namely state and provincial QSO parties. As explained on the website, the annual cumulative score program is open to any radio amateur who participates in any approved state QSO parties (SQPs).

Participants just need to submit their QSO party scores to to enter the challenge. Participants’ cumulative scores will be calculated by totaling up the number of reported contacts and multiplying by the number of SQPs entered in the year to date. Periodic standings will be posted to, the QSOParty forum, and the website.

“Using the number of QSO parties entered as a multiplier is expected to encourage radio amateurs to enter more state/province QSO parties,” the program’s organizers said. “The first SQPs in 2020 are the Vermont, Minnesota, and British Columbia QSO Parties in the first weekend of February.”

Entrants must make at least two contacts in a QSO party for it to count as a multiplier. Full details are available on the State QSO Party Challenge website. Challenge sponsors expressed appreciation to Bruce Horn, WA7BNM, for developing the SQP Activity Tracker on

This is interesting in a few ways.  Even if you decide to not formally participate in this, it can be taken on as a real personal challenge. "How many State QSO Parties can I participate in?". For me, it would be a big deal to participate in all fifty, plus Canada  This kind of reminds me of the QRP-ARCI Golden Jubilee event a few years back, where the goal was to work K6JSS stations in all 50 states.

Secondly, would I be able to make "at least two contacts" in all of these? With band conditions the way they are - the state QSO parties in Alaska and Hawaii and some of the Canadian Provinces might prove to be a real challenge. But then, going back to the QRP-ARCI Golden Jubilee event, Alaska and Hawaii were NOT the two states I missed!

Thirdly, this would be a great way for those who are on their way to earning Worked All Sates to actually accomplish that.

Fourthly, for those of you out there who complain about the bands being "flooded with contests" every weekend (you know who you are), this would actually make that a good thing. Instead of disdaining these QSO Parties, it would be an incentive to jump in and make them into an enjoyable and an interesting experience for you. After all, you don't have to stay in them for the entire event if you don't want to - but can you make just two QSOs in each?

I just might be tempted to take on the personal challenge myself!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!


bumfuzzle[ buhm-fuhz-uh l ]
verb (used with object), bum·fuz·zled, bum·fuz·zling. Chiefly South Midland and Southern U.S.
– to confuse or fluster.

Origin of Bumfuzzle

1900–05; bum- (expressive prefix, perhaps to be identified with the initial syllable of bamboozle) + fuzzle to confuse (perhaps expressive alteration of fuddle)

This is how I would characterize my reaction to this item appearing on the ARRL website on January 19, 2020. Just confused and flustered:

My own belief was that CEO Howard Michel WB2ITX was doing a necessary and deliberate job in changing the operational focus of the League’s office and services. The main goal as he stated publicly was to increase the value of League membership. He was a very successful CEO of the much, much larger and more complex association, IEEE.

As a Presenter on the ICQ Podcast, I’ve had the opportunity to regularly interview Howard after each Board meeting of the ARRL so as to get our listeners updated on Board actions that had occurred and were being rolled out. I put him on the spot each time, asking what he had done to increase the value of membership. He always responded with an articulate set of accomplishments and plans. As a Life Member of the League, I thought he was doing a great job, especially walking into an opening where his predecessor was ousted after only a couple of years, amidst much rancor and consternation by members and non-members alike. So I’m bumfuzzled.

League officials, including the just re-elected President, have stated that it’s a personnel matter so there is no public comment. Others engage in conjecture, based upon the nefarious “I heard…” source of information that always occurs in the absence of factual source-based statements. I’ve heard a lot, too. And from a wide range of sources. But not much that is public.

The recent emergence of a “backlash group,” coming on the heels of the previous CEO hiring, censure of a Board member, and the attempted change of officers getting a vote on matters in addition to the long-standing votes of Board members, has pressed for greater openness in League business. This group stated that transparency in League actions is paramount. The myARRLvoice group states the following on it’s web-page:

This group had a couple of supporters get elected to the Board in a recent election. We will see how these two Directors, especially, act to publicly announce how they voted regarding election of the CEO Howard Michel WB2ITX. It’s on the “I heard…” rumor mill that the vote was 9-6 to not re-elect Michel. How did each Board member vote? I asked my Director, David Norris K5UZ, how he voted. Note: I serve as one of his appointed Assistant Directors. He told me that he voted to retain Howard and thought he was doing a fine job. So that is one vote now made public.

How did your Division Director vote? If you don’t know, ask them! And why? Did they take your views into account in the run-up to this Board meeting? They are your voice on the ARRL Board, if you’re a member of the League.

Is the ARRL Listening About Shipping? Or is it just me…

A few months ago, I challenged the ARRL’s new mission to serve members in a more effective way by bringing “value” to members. I suggested that one quick “win” would be to stop selling through Amazon (at a 55% discount) and use that money-per-book to fund “free shipping” for members who purchase books. Many readers just didn’t read beyond the title of “free shipping” before raining down the it-will-just-be-passed-along-to-members rhetoric. This does not understand that the League would make a greater profit margin by selling at the 100% retail price (even with whatever discount the member may receive by being a Certified Instructor, etc.), charging no shipping, and still recouping a higher profit than the automatic 55% “loss” through the standard wholesale discount.

In one of my interviews with Howard Michel ARRL CEO on the ICQ Podcast, he said he ran the numbers and that it wouldn’t work out. I did not directly challenge him on that issue since it’s clearly his call. My thought was that it was a pure and simple strategy to demonstrate his new vision of “increasing value.” But enough with my recommendations, already!

ARRL Cyber Monday FREE SHIPPING on $50+ Coupon

However, perhaps it’s just me, but has the ARRL increased their free or discounted shipping stance in marketing publications? Like other League members, I’m sure, I received the above coupon code for Cyber Monday (after Thanksgiving). It’s FREE SHIPPING on $50 or more. That’s an incentive, especially with the new Handbook out and discounted temporarily at $40. So, I thought I’d grab another discounted book to reach $50 or more and get a FREE SHIPPING discount. On my daily driver desktop, I run Linux Mint on a Dell T-5500 8-core CPU with 72GB of RAM and a gigbit Internet service via ethernet to my commercial class switch. I rarely ever have buffering of websites from my end. Ever. But, boy, did I on this Cyber Monday order at! It took several HOURS for me to get the order through to checkout. I tried several different machines, in addition, just to ensure it wasn’t on my end. It wasn’t as I did a network speed operation test on getting packets to and from the server. It was on that end…because, no doubt, there was a boatload of customers ordering. So that’s the point of marketing offers, no? And I’m very happy to see evidence of it drawing a crowd at the virtual checkout page at the League’s website.

And, here are several more adverts e-mailed to members, all with $5 discounted shipping. So, has the ARRL been rolling out a version of this “free shipping” strategy? Well, only some offers reflect actually free shipping but a cap at $5 shipping is also a winning offer, too. I’m delighted at this marketing move by ARRL Product Development Manager Bob Inderbitzen, NQ1R. Keep it up, Bob! This increases value to members who receive the code coupons.

HR2.0 – ARRL West Gulf Division Candidate Interviews 9/28/2019

I had the privilege of recording an interview meeting between the two candidates running for ARRL West Gulf Division Director, in Houston this past weekend.  We were able to livestream the event on Facebook, but the YouTube livestreaming ports were blocked at the meeting location.  However, I did also record the meeting to disk and was able to clean-up the audio a bit, and now the raw video footage has been posted to my YouTube channel.

For those in Texas and Oklahoma who are interested in your ARRL Leadership, please see the video below.  The session is 2-hours long, but some good questions were asked and answered, and I think both candidates gave a good idea of their vision for leadership inside of the League for the West Gulf Division.

Here are the website links for the candidates also:

N5AUS’ Election Page:
W5MJ’s Election Page:


Ready, SET, Go! No, It’s a Drill…

Today started early, about 5:30am or so, getting email, RSS feeds, and social media perused, worked or avoided so I could communicate on behalf of the Mississippi Section ARES Simulated Emergency Exercise (S.E.T.) from 9am-9pm. I won’t work the entire 12 hours but I did assist our RACES Director, Mike N5DU operate the MS Emergency Management Agency’s EOC Radio Room. A few other hams, like Todd K5TDD, Bob KG5ZDZ, and Jim K0UPW (newly relocated from State of Washington) also came by to assist.

Mike N5DU has a RACES Team that he is growing, putting together continual training for those who can be deployed to other emergency zones around the country and those who will remain local (like me) to operate either at the MEMA Command Center or sheltered in-place at their QTH. It’s always a growth process as volunteer hams come and go, tire of EmComm, or leave our midst due to health reasons. But it takes organized, thoughtful, and diligent leaders like N5DU to keep the ball rolling.

K4FMH (left) assisting Mike N5DU at Communications Center, MEMA

MEMA has grown in it’s technical capability since the 2005 Hurricane Katrina. Our team working the SET today got a tour of the Command Center when integral state agencies, non-government organizations, and selected others have designated “seats” in front of PCs on the floor of the Command Center. The facility meets federal security standards specified by FEMA, Homeland Security, and other relevant regulations.

Our THIS IS A DRILL scenario today was at sudden, significant seismic activity at the New Madrid Fault in Northeast Arkansas. It is pronounced New Maaa-drid, unlike the city in Spain, commonly pronounced Ma-DRID. I texted our Section’s Emergency Coordinator, Robert KC5IMN, the correct pronunciation to relieve him of future abuse at the hands of Emergency Coordinator’s near Memphis!

New Madrid Fault Zone

We had a good response and participation during the first four hours with one-hour shifts for net control operators around the state. Steve K5OMK in Starkville did a great job as did the ARES Team in Starkville. They had a lost person beacon chase (successful) in addition to the earthquake activity. I guess that was simulated preparation for the start of Southeastern Conference Football weekends in StarkVegas. Operators in Houston, Vicksburg, and elsewhere worked until we closed the MEMA EOC operation about 12:30pm. They are still at work as I write this blog post. As Assistant Delta Division Director, I’m proud of the work that Malcolm W5XX, Bob KC5IMN, and Mike N5DU have engaged in this annual activity.

The MS Section finished # 1 in ARES Section rankings for the SET in 2018. Whether that ranking continues this year matters not, if we all get more effective, efficient, and engaged in bringing our amateur radio communications game to a higher level. You keep score to motivate teams to get better, not to just win rankings, when lives are on the line. Thank God, it’s just a drill today.

Here’s a gallery of pictures from the MEMA Command Center, Levels of Activation, how this agency is organized into regions, and the radio network operating in the State, called MSWin. A staffer at MEMA today kindly gave us a brief tour.

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