Around this time of year, the increased news about storms and hurricanes reminds us Amateur Radio can be called upon to play a role in emergencies. The ARRL sponsors ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service), made …
Congratulations to Joe Speroni (AH0A). From the ARRL: “Three new Section Managers and five incumbent Section Managers will begin new terms in their respective sections starting on April 1. The results of three contested elections …
The following is the ARRL Pacific Section Manager report for November 2015 by Bob Schneider (AH6J). SM Bob Schneider, AH6J, will not be running for reelection. The deadline for submitting Nomination Petitions is December 4, …
Why do people become hams? “Hawaii Ham Stories” will find out. Burt Lum (WH6DZJ) is a long-time technology expert and already has a weekly live sci-tech show on FM radio. But he recently got his Technician class license. He was recently interviewed by Keith Higa (WH7GG) for the “Wireless Dispatch,” the official newsletter of EARC Hawaii. Watch for the piece in the next issue, and read on for Burt’s complete story.
Growing up, I always had this fascination with radio. I thought it was wondrous how you could catch radio stations from far off locations, and how wireless communications could transform your voice into electromagnetic waves. That’s probably why I ended up getting an electrical engineering degree in college.
While at Stanford University I wanted to get on the radio, and back in those days you needed an FCC license called the Radio Telephone 3rd Class Operating Permit. I got the license and was on the radio at KZSU 90.1FM.
Back in the 1990 while working at Hawaiian Telephone (that’s what it was called back then), I met a couple of hams, primarily AH6RH, Ron Hashiro, and KH6JPL, Billy Gomban. They piqued my interest in getting into amateur radio, but at that time you needed to learn morse code to get a Technician’s license. As much as I was interested that was a hurdle I was not going to overcome. I remained just a lurker and bought myself a scanner and listened to the various VHF and UHF repeaters.
Fast forward to 2012, where you have the Internet, social networks and smart phones. The question now becomes, with all these modes of communications, why would you want to delve back into amateur radio?
Interestingly, social media sites like Facebook and Twitter have become a snapshot of what is happening with your distributed community of friends and family. I started to get interested in the use of social media for news and the reporting of emergencies, especially natural disasters. I realized it would be very useful if you could somehow determine who were the trusted sources in social media and cull through the deluge of information and assist existing emergency managers during a natural disaster.
Well, guess what? That led me right back to amateur radio. They’ve been in existence for many decades doing exactly that, providing communication services in the event of an emergency. They’ve honed their technical expertise and communications protocol to effectively and efficiently manage information in the field and work with emergency agencies like Civil Defense and the American Red Cross. That motivated me to get my Technicians license… and this time without the requirement of morse code.
So for me, if I want to learn how to better use social media and the Internet for emergency management, it is best to start with the original emergency communicators, ham radio and the Emergency Amateur Radio Club. What better way to learn than to jump in with both feet?
I’m excited not only about learning about ham radio and the EARC, but also a chance to get back into the electronics of radio. I always wanted to build my own radio station and now I have that chance.
Above, a video featuring scenes from the “Field Day” event at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, held June 23-24, 2012. The gathering was one of several across the country organized by ARRL-affiliated amateur radio clubs, this one organized by the Hawaii Emergency Amateur Radio Club (EARC). Setup began the afternoon before, and the event runs through today, Sunday. Below, some photos:
The following is the ARRL Pacific Section Manager report for part of May and June 2012 by Bob Schneider (AH6J), republished with permission.
First we must acknowledge the passing of Kenichi “Ken” Yamamoto (KH6ATT) at the age of 96. He was a longtime past member of BIARC in Hilo. He had been employed by the former Hilo Electric Light Company which later became Hawaii Electric Light Company. He spent his last days in Hale Anuenue Restorative Care Center so as a result was not too active in Amateur Radio during the last days. He will be missed.
As promised here are some observations of the 2012 Dayton Hamvention which was held May 18, 19 and 20.
Your SM spent some time manning the ARRL ARES booth. Michael Corey (KI1U) was the lead. ARRL had at least 18 booths and a stage set up in the Silver Arena. The Silver Arena is one of four main rooms. Inside displays were set up in these four large halls. Beside the Silver Arena there was the Main amphitheater, the LUSO (East Hall) and the North Hall. Talks were given in one of five Forum rooms. There was also an area inside and out for food concessions.
Attendance was estimated at 25,000. Your SM did not receive any allowances for travel but did get free parking and a couple shirts.
Probably the most important booth was about Emergency Communications (ARES) followed closely by the ARRL store (which was the largest). Other aspects included DXCC, youth, VEC, media, insurance, Visa card, education, scouting, digital, Pacificon 2012 and others. There were almost continuous presentations in the ARRL stage area and several foreign booths such as RSGB, JARL and DARC (German). There were two enormous outside parking areas used for private vendors. It was impossible to see it all. There were many motorized wheelchairs and carts. This was actually somewhat of a problem since everywhere was congested.
We (Esther and I) stayed a few extra days in Dayton and spent quite a bit of time at Wright Patterson AFB. There is a huge display of military hardware (aircraft) and Air Force history. If you go, expect to spend several days.
We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott along with many of the other ARRL officials. We were unable to get included in the block of rooms reserved by HQ however we called the hotel directly and they gave us AAA rates which were actually a few dollars cheaper than what ARRL got. The information packet from ARRL arrived two days after we left so the information we got on site was impromptu and sketchy. It all goes back to our postal delay problems. The bottom line is plan early, expect a huge crowd and stay focused on one aspect since it is not possible to see everything. Lastly “bring money”.
There was two really good news items brought out during the conference. Ohio has passed a PRB-1 like law to help mitigate antenna problems due to zoning laws and CC & R regulations.
The second good news is that ARRL is now publishing QST online so members can get instant QST articles that were formerly outdated by the time we got them. This is probably the biggest single incentive to join ARRL in many years.
Young people should consider becoming life members. The savings is enormous. If you are not a member now (after you read this article) go directly to the ARRL page and join on line. Your SM bought a lifetime membership years ago and has never regretted it.
Last month we told about the important mandate in which congress told FCC to prepare a study to assess Amateur Radio’s role in EMCOM. The deadline for comments was May 17, 2012. ARRL has consolidated the 1,500+ letters & e-mails it received and sent in an extensive and lengthy comment to FCC.
The entire ARRL presentation is accessible on the ARRL webpages by going back several weeks. There are also several other interesting past articles such as their synopsis of the Dayton Hamvention. Your SM’s picture with some of the other SM’s (and back of his head) is available on ARRL’s Facebook page. The click-point is available toward the end of the Dayton Hamvention article.
Mayor Billy Kenoi announced that effective February 14th Benedict Fuata became the new County of Hawaii Civil Defense Director. Colonel Fuata is a former member of the Hawaii Army National Guard. His picture is on the Pacific Section Webpage.
The annual Makani Pahili 2012 state-wide hurricane exercise was held Saturday, June 2. From the feedback received, Oahu seems to be the major participant this time. The other counties also participated but at a lesser level. A spokesman for Hawaii County CD said the new Director, Benedict Fuata, didn’t feel fully comfortable having a maximum effort so soon after getting the new job. He expects to have everything up and running very soon. All indications are this exercise was successful.
The next Emergency exercise is Field Day on June 23 followed by the annual SET on October 6. A side note is the siren failure on Oahu in the early morning of Thursday June 14 which was caused by a glitch on the mainland by the siren company. It just shows how quickly this sort of thing can happen.
State CD would like us to continue use of the ICS-213 message format and to be sure and always include the words “this is a test message” in any practice messages. For more details see Ron (AH6RH) Hashiro’s webpage. It gives a lot of good information on EMCOM plans and procedures in Hawaii. It also gives a good after action report on the Makani Pahili exercise.
Again, June 23-24 is the ARRL Field Day. The 2012 Field Day Packet is now available for download from ARRL. Field Day is by definition the fourth full weekend in June. This is not always the last weekend. For example next Year, 2013, there will be five full weekends in June. Be sure to enter your club’s location on the Field Day finder webpage. As of this moment four sites are listed in the state of Hawaii.
The ARRL national convention, Pacificon 2012, will be held October 12 to 14 at the Santa Clara Marriott. Your SM is planning on attending.
The Big Island “International” Hamfest is set for Saturday October 27, 2012. It will be at the Keaau Community Center instead of Waimea this year. The center is already reserved. There are two large rooms and a lanai area. Rent for the hall is $100 with a $200 deposit so donations are greatly appreciated. We expect to have VE testing in the afternoon and perhaps a couple special speakers. As in the past, entrance is free with a mandatory sign in sheet. There will be a donation jar to cover expenses and we expect to have a few door prizes and some refreshments. For more details contact Bob Schneider (AH6J) at 808-966-8146 or co-chair Doug Wilson (WH6DTD) at 808-985-7540.
Dean Manley (KH6B) representing the Hawaii QRP club (KH6AA) reminded us of these coming events:
July 7 (Saturday): 8AM HCRC Breakfast at 50’s Highway Fountain in Laupahoehoe.
August 11 (Saturday): Hilo ARC 81st Summer Potluck Picnic Wailoa River State Park.
Check these websites for more information on Pacific Section Clubs:
The following was posted to the hawaiihamradio mailing list, in response to a question from Mike (WA7YET) on doing QRP (low power, long distance contacts) in the Aloha State. Veteran ham Kimo Chun (KH7U) answered, and allowed HawaiiHam.com to republish his advice.
Doing QRP from Hawaii is challenging at best. You won’t be having lots of QSO’s in a hurry, but if you are patient and use best practices, you can still have fun.
CW is the mode of choice for QRP. You should also try to operate at the seashore with your vertical antenna as close to the water as you can with the ocean between you and the direction you want to beam.
Your best bet will be to operate before, during, and after “gray-line” (at sunrise and sunset) locally and, to a lesser degree, sunrise or sunset at the location you may be trying to reach.
Use the most efficient vertical antennas system that you can. Preferably a resonant antenna without an antenna tuner. Or, if you do use a tuner, don’t situate yourself far from the tuner and use the best coax you can (low loss) or some sort of parallel wire feed line between the tuner and the antenna (if the antenna design is such). Or forgo the tuner and use a resonant antenna fed with parallel wire line (a.k.a. window, ladder type).
Actually, don’t use long lengths of coax at all.
A few of us (at the Koolau Amateur Radio Club) are building a special antenna tuner (high impedance) to feed Half-square or Bobtail Curtain antennas at their base, versus the 50 Ohm point a quarter wave up. This method is championed by KH6MB, locally.
You can also forgo the tuner and feed these antennas directly at the elevated point, but additional supports are needed for the coax to allow it to extend away from the feed point at a right angle (horizontally) to decouple it from the antenna. Using fiberglass fishing poles, DK9SQ branded poles, Spider Poles or trees, you can set up gain wire antennas by the water that will perform well.
You can also construct arrays of vertical dipoles to simulate vertically oriented yagis, again near the seawater that will also greatly enhance your results. This method is increasingly being used on DXpeditions that operate ocean-side.
If you cannot do the above, then you will likely need to use a yagi at least a half wavelength high for the frequency involved along with the shortest low loss coax you can afford. Minimum RG-213 type.
Of course, even a simple end-fed vertical operated near the seawater will work, but to a lesser degree and require more effort and patience. There was an article in a recent QST magazine of a visiting ham from the U.S. mainland who did just that at beaches here on Oahu.
I am primarily a “contester.” A visiting friend tried using my good yagi antenna on a tall tower during the day (near the sunspot peak) on SSB (I think) in a contest QRP and gave up after a few hours. Granted, he was frustrated because achieving any kind of “rate” did not happen.
Depending on the time of day and propagation, people on the West Coast have their yagis pointing away from Hawaii, so they will not hear a QRP station calling. As the West Coast is the closest and most easily reached location for contacts, you need to use some knowledge of their operating habits to increase your odds of success. The same goes for any destination you are trying to reach.
QRP can be fun. It just depends on what you consider fun. It’s just that we are 2,500 hundred miles from the nearest stations (other than in state) so you are starting at a big disadvantage. You need to accept the obvious or make the necessary compensations (location, antennas, etc.) to increase your chances and enjoyment.
“Is Field Day a contest, an emergency preparedness exercise, a public relations demonstration, a great event for clubs, or just a fun way to get on the air? Field Day is ALL these things! Hams set up away from commercial power and normal installations for 24 hours in June.”
Amateur radio operators will be holding Field Day events on Oahu, Kauai, Maui and the Big Island on Saturday and Sunday, June 23 and 24, 2012.
Four special sessions entitled “How to Become a Better Ham Radio Operator” are being offered Tuesday nights at McKinley Community School for Adults, Room 110, from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm. The instructor will be Ron Hashiro (AH6RH).
June 19 – Newly Licensed Hams
June 26 – VHF / UHF Operations
July 03 – Mobile Operations / Introduction to HF
July 10 – Emergency Communications
Registration for the series is free if signing up at the first session. The registration fee after the first session is $10.
McKinley Community School for Adults is located on Pensacola St. Driving makai, go past the main entrance to the McKinley High School parking lot, and turn right in the next driveway. The Community School for Adults is a two story building. The classroom is located on the Makai end of the first floor.
The sessions are courtesy of: ARRL, DEM, EARC, SCD, DOE and the McKinley Community School for Adults.
What is Makani Pahili? Keith Higa (WH7GG) explains: “Every year, at the beginning of hurricane season, the emergency management agencies across the state participate in an annual exercise of emergency preparedness called Makani Pāhili (hurricane or cyclone in Hawaiian), testing the worst-case scenario – what if a category 4 or 5 hurricane made a direct hit on Oahu?”
As a virtual exercise, there is often little visible evidence of the work taking place. Fortunately, the Honolulu District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers posted a set of photos this year documenting its Containerized Tactical Operations Center (CTOC), which provides a rapidly deployable tactical operations and communications platform for first responders where there are no available facilities or communications capabilities.