The Southeastern Division encompasses the Alabama, Georgia, Northern Florida, Southern Florida, West Central Florida, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands Sections and has the largest number of members of the ARRL’s fifteen Divisions.
Our Public Information programs tend to concentrate on providing some sort of story or information to the “Public.” Our efforts are focused on reaching people who have little if any knowledge about our hobby, our passion. Unfortunately our efforts are built on a very weak foundation. Our emphasis should not be on the “Public” but on the “Information.” I will be writing a weekly short note on the subject of information and information distribution to the amateur radio community, posting them on this site. This first note is intended to set the stage for future notes.
Our efforts to inform should first focus on the acquisition of the material needed to tell the story of ham radio. The central portion of Alabama was promised a light dusting of snow for the morning of January 28th, 2014. We got a light dusting of snow that melted and then refroze by about 11:00 AM. This first bit of white stuff was followed by another 3 to 6 inches of additional “light dustings of snow.” The snow and ice event trapped people at work, and at schools. Schools were full of students unreachable by buses. Our entire local and interstate road network went into border to border gridlock. As of Midnight on the 28th there were thousands of stranded cars, statewide over 10,000s of people in shelters, hundreds or thousands of accidents and just a generally nasty mess.
Because of the way the event developed most the local EMAs in the effected area stayed in the stand-by mode. Nets were not activated but, while the cell phone tower went into meltdown, unusable for hours, the ham radio operators went into action. Following the event I went in search of basic information about the ham radio response and was very surprised to discover there were few records documenting the amateur radio activity. At first this lack of information was truly disturbing. How could we have an event that did as much damage to our state as a small to mid size tornado, an event that involved many, many amateur radio operators and be unable to find anything that could be used to write a story. The lack of records almost suggest that it didn’t happen.
We did not have a record of the event, we didn’t have the facts, the facts, the information to describe the amateur radio communities efforts to mitigate a disaster. The disaster that had arrived in the form of 3 to 6 inches of a “Light Dusting.” Maybe there was something in the information I was missing.
There was a big story hidden in the event but I was missing it. Come back next week and find out what I was missing and what we can do to capture facts about our activities that will allow us to promptly share with other an accurate picture of amateur radio.
N4EDT – Ed
Your ARRL Southeast Division Director and Vice Director are no strangers to a variety of equipment and manufacturers, having used probably most of the leading radios in the market. Each of us has our personal preferences, since individual tastes vary with operator.
But the one thing we all have in common, is the desire to SAVE MONEY on our equipment purchases. To that end, we will be passing along any information that we receive that might help our members save real dollars, on those things that they already want-or-need, or on those items that they were contemplating purchasing, when the price was right.
This is NOT an endorsement of any specific manufacturer or dealer – we are entirely equal-opportunity. When we learn of other sales from various (reputable) dealers, we will certainly pass it along so that it can be in your field-of-view. Neither Doug nor I have been asked by any dealer or manufacturer to solicit this information – it’s just that we all love a good sale.
So with that preface, here is a sale we learned about this morning.