So, I know I need to post an update, but there’s not really anything to update. It’s still a waiting game to see if the immunotherapy worked. I’m going for labs once or twice a week, and the results are fairly consistent. I’m needing a blood transfusion pretty much every week, and some weeks more than one. My platelets are slowly climbing, but still extremely low. And my neutrophils (my immune system) is still about as low as it can possibly go. Normal is between 2.0 and 8.0. Mine have been running around 0.1 or 0.0. Continue reading
I’ve been seeing many posts on social media lately saying Hurricane Irma will be the first Category 6 storm. They point to seemingly legitimate “news” articles to back the claim. So, to debunk them, here are some actual facts.
There is no need for a category 6 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale.
The scale, developed in 1971 by Robert Simpson and Herbert Saffir, categorizes storm strength as it relates to wind speed. There are five (and only five) categories. When asked why there were not more, and if any should be added, Dr. Simpson (no relation, by the way) responded, “…[W]hen you get up into winds in excess of 155 miles per hour you have enough… damages that are serious… So I think that it’s immaterial what will happen with winds stronger than 156 miles per hour. That’s the reason why we didn’t try to go any higher than that anyway.” (Mariners Weather Log, April 1999, pp. 10-12)
Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Wind Scale
Types of Damage Due to Hurricane Winds
|Very dangerous winds will produce some damage: Well-constructed frame homes could have damage to roof, shingles, vinyl siding and gutters. Large branches of trees will snap and shallowly rooted trees may be toppled. Extensive damage to power lines and poles likely will result in power outages that could last a few to several days.|
|Extremely dangerous winds will cause extensive damage: Well-constructed frame homes could sustain major roof and siding damage. Many shallowly rooted trees will be snapped or uprooted and block numerous roads. Near-total power loss is expected with outages that could last from several days to weeks.|
|Devastating damage will occur: Well-built framed homes may incur major damage or removal of roof decking and gable ends. Many trees will be snapped or uprooted, blocking numerous roads. Electricity and water will be unavailable for several days to weeks after the storm passes.|
|Catastrophic damage will occur: Well-built framed homes can sustain severe damage with loss of most of the roof structure and/or some exterior walls. Most trees will be snapped or uprooted and power poles downed. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.|
|157 mph or higher
137 kt or higher
252 km/h or higher
|Catastrophic damage will occur: A high percentage of framed homes will be destroyed, with total roof failure and wall collapse. Fallen trees and power poles will isolate residential areas. Power outages will last for weeks to possibly months. Most of the area will be uninhabitable for weeks or months.|
The National Hurricane Center also has a graphic to demonstrate the anticipated damages from the different wind speeds.
The SSHWS applies to any cyclone with 74 MPH or greater winds
Category 5 has no upper limit. Since the scale was developed to describe anticipated damages from different wind speeds, Category 5 means near total destruction. Beyond that point, it doesn’t matter if it’s 155 MPH or 190 MPH as was the case with Hurricane Allen in 1980.
Wind isn’t the only damaging force
Remember Hurricane Sandy? It was only a Category 3. Yet it still caused $75 billion in damages. Tropical Storm Allison (2001) did $9 billion in damage, and was never a hurricane. Conversely, Category 5 Hurricane Emily (2005) did slightly over $1 billion in damage. While Hurricane Katrina, the modern standard by which cyclones are measured, cost 1,836 lives as a Category 5, the Category 2 Hurricane Fifi-Orlene in 1974 cost 8,000 lives.
Typically, more damage is caused by flooding, both by direct rain and storm surge. That was the case with Harvey. That was the case with Katrina.
There are scientific reports, journalism reports, and click bait reports
It is very easy now to make a webpage look like it came from a legitimate news site. Sadly, there are people who use fear tactics to drive internet traffic and get more views for the ads on their page. There are many legitimate news organizations that portray the facts as more precarious than they are to increase viewership. There are also plenty of organizations, especially in my local market, which do an AMAZING job of presenting the facts. But, like with most things, if you want the best information, go directly to the source.
The National Hurricane Center has remarkable resources anytime there are active storms. They also post regular updates to their Facebook Page. For live observation reports, the Hurricane Watch Net provides great resources as well as streaming audio when the net is active.
Be alert, but don’t panic
Pay attention to the directions of emergency management officials. They may paint a grim picture, but their number one job is to keep everyone alive. Things can be replaced. People cannot. If you are ordered to evacuate, evacuate. If the evacuation doesn’t apply to your area, be prepared to shelter in place for a while. Have a Ready Kit. Have a Family Emergency Plan. Be prepared and stay alive.
Daniel R. Simpson is an amateur radio operator in central Georgia. He is the Emergency Coordinator for Baldwin County ARES as well as a Public Information Officer and Local Government Liaison for the ARRL Field Organization. He has completed numerous trainings from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, National Weather Service, and American Radio Relay League.
Last weekend, I had the opportunity to present to the Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club (full disclosure, I’m also their vice president) about why we should always be training and learning, especially when it comes to emergency and public service communications.
I have the video, slides, and handout posted on my site for your viewing. Please feel free to send me any feedback!
Want information about amateur radio for your school, community, or civic group? Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I had submitted this to QST for review, but apparently SueAnne Griffith’s piece (August 2017) was already in the pipeline ahead of mine. Granted, that assumption also requires that my submission was worthy of publication, but… I’m going to embrace the hubris that it was. 🙂
So, to keep it from going to waste, I am posting it here for your consideration.
Finding the Next Generation
Through the years, I have been involved with many aspects of student organizations, both as member, officer, and now advisor looking to revitalize the club at my alma mater. Because of this, I have experienced many different styles of recruiting with varying levels of effectiveness. Now, I want to share my experiences in hopes of aiding the growth of other clubs as well.
Every campus has a special place where students gather. For my campus (Go Bobcats!), it was by “the fountain.” For others it may be the quad, student center, or tailgates. But the simple fact is, most institutions will not be willing to allocate a permanent space, and definitely not funding, to a group with only a few members. So recruitment must become a priority.
The Collegiate Amateur Radio Forum at Orlando Hamcation provided some great ideas, but more can be done. Here are some tried and true methods that have been proven effective time and again.
Information tables are a college tradition, but most fall short of perfection. There are elements that will make your effort standout from the crowd. First, it needs to be catchy. Have a well designed banner so people know who you are – they can readily be found online for less than $50. Have plenty of brochures and handouts as a takeaway item. Many are available from the ARRL, but it is also quite easy to adopt them to your campus.
Approach your local radio club for start-up assistance. See if they can provide go-kits for a demonstration on the table. A portable antenna will certainly be an eyecatcher among other groups who are tabling as well. They may even be willing to provide some funding for handouts and giveaways, which leads to the number one method of getting a college student’s attention: freebies!
Students love free food. It could be pizza, candy, or bags of chips or crackers. The one caveat to this, especially if you are in the south, is to avoid chocolate. It can quickly make a mess if left in sunlight or high temperatures. You can also consider koozies, frisbees, or flash drives (pre-loaded with some club fliers and information, of course).
Have volunteers rotate between talking on the radio and talking to passers by. Some should be in front of the table so it appears friendly and engaging. Be prepared to talk to students in all of the programs offered by the institution, not just STEM. Criminal justice and government majors will likely be attracted to the emergency communication and public service aspects. Journalism, marketing, and communication students will likely be interested in how it ties into the technology used for broadcasting. And yes, STEM students will be interested in the technology and maker aspects.
Keep in mind diversity at your table. Volunteers from your local club are great, but they are just a start. Do your best to also have college age volunteers. Get the YLs involved. If someone’s grandchild is popular in Greek Life or athletics, offer him a lunch to spend an hour with you.
Outreach is only the first step. You can have a table with dozens of people surrounding it the entire time period, and it still be a failure. Don’t just give out cards, have people sign-up for an email list. You could even include a drawing for a gift card to a local restaurant or the campus bookstore. Then use that information.
Send out an email to everyone who stopped by thanking them for their time and inviting them to follow your club on social media. Let them know about upcoming events and talks, or license classes. Remember, just because they may not be interested in getting licensed right now, they still may show up for discussions specific to their interest.
Overall, remember to make it fun. College students have enough serious topics to face on a day to day basis. Set up the demonstrations like a mini-Field Day or special event. This is the generation of the smartphone, so instant communication will not impress them. Show them how amateur radio is different, fun, and experiential. It truly is a hobby with something for everyone. It’s just a matter of helping students find something that sparks their interest.
Daniel R. Simpson, K4DRS was first licensed at 11 years old and was active in amateur radio and other student groups in college and graduate school. He can be reached at P.O. Box 1882, Milledgeville, Georgia 31059 or at email@example.com.
So, this post is WAY overdue, but better late than never, right? This year, Nikki and I were in charge of Field Day for the Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club. In all, it went pretty well. We had to disconnect the antennas due to lightening. We had trouble getting antennas into the trees. But, without those things, is it really even a Field Day?
We ended up making around sixty contacts. That’s not too bad considering we were only on the air about 3 hours. We did get a lot of bonus points, so that makes it better. Judging by last year’s results, we’re in the running for the top 2A-Commercial in the state. Since this is my first year running one, I think that is a monumental success. To top it off, everyone had a blast and we were able to showcase the hobby to served agencies, elected officials, and interested community members.
Now, on to a few special event stations, Winter Field Day, and all the excitement the next year has in store.
Well, another big ham radio event has drawn to a close. It was fun, but I fell a little bit short. The 13 Colonies Special Event is each year during the week of Independence Day. Work one, get a certificate. Work all 13 (K2A through K2M) and get a “Clean Sweep” endorsement. I worked 12, being unable to contact South Carolina. That’s the way it goes I guess.
There were two bonus stations this year as well. I was able to work the one in Philadelphia but was never able to make it through the pileup to get the Great Britain station.
Special Event Log – 13 Colonies
|2017-07-05-202500||20m||SSB||14.25290||WM3PEN||Philadelphia Bonus Station|
Just as much fun for me was what happened outside of the event. While everyone was trying to work the 15 special event stations, it was quite easy to work other stations while waiting to be able to contact a K2x. I was able to contact six new DXCC entities, work the Gettysburg special event stations, got my first contacts on 2 new bands, and progressed towards my WAS Award.
General Log – July 1-6, 2017
|2017-07-01-205400||40m||SSB||7.26500||W1G||United States||PA||154th Anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg Special Event Station|
|2017-07-05-163200||20m||SSB||14.32500||KC1CBQ||United States||MA||POTA: Dighton Rock State Park|
|2017-07-05-201800||20m||SSB||14.29000||V4/W6NN||Saint Kitts & Nevis|
|2017-07-07-002423||20m||SSB||14.32200||K0ATZ||United States||MO||POTA: Wilson’s Creek National Battlefield|
Unfortunately, the event also highlighted much of what was wrong with this hobby. I invited my mother-in-law into the shack to see what I was working on, then had to awkwardly explain to her that some of the odd noises were intentional interference. Some were operators (albeit excited) jumping into a pileup either ignorant or apathetic to the fact the station was calling by numbers. This, combined with participants who were intent on getting every station with every band and every mode, made the process much more difficult than it could and should have been. Yes, I did contact a few stations more than once. But I made a point of only doing that when they were slow, and I made sure to spot them afterwards to get them more contacts.
I get challenging yourself, but there are only endorsements for CW and QRP. There is no reason to try to complete on all bands except ego. There is no reason to chase all RTTY or PSK31. All that does is add to the chaos, and that is the last thing we need.
The bottom line is I had fun. I will do it again next year. But if amateur radio is to survive as a hobby, we must clean up our behavior. If it comes down to it, we must assist with enforcement as well by not engaging with or acknowledging stations which do not follow (or are even openly hostile to) the proper code of conduct.
This weekend was Winter Field Day. It was a new experience for me, but since I had always enjoyed the Field Day in June, I figured I would give it a shot. I chickened out on setting up outside, even with the relatively mild Georgia winter. So I, along with my iffy immune system, operated from my home station. Or, in contest speak, I was 1H GA (1 operator, home station, from Georgia).
Saturday went amazingly well. I was able to get 75 contacts in just a few hours. Sunday didn’t go quite as well. I woke up under the weather, and I wasn’t able to push through like I would have liked. I did manage to get another six contacts, for an unconfirmed 243 points. I even managed to get six new states (Arkansas, Colorado, Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, West Virginia) for my Worked All States award (I still have 11 to go).
Even though it didn’t work out quite the way I had hoped, I still had fun. I look forward to next year. Hopefully, by then I will be able to work digital modes and maybe even Morse Code (that would have taken my score to 729 if I had this go round). I’m looking forward to the June version too. If I’m able, I hopefully be working outdoors with the rest of the club. Continue reading
At the stroke of midnight (GMT) on January 1st, the program which has brought me the most enjoyment in my 21 years as an amateur radio operator drew to a close. National Parks on the Air, a program by the ARRL on conjunction with the National Park Service’s 100th anniversary, gave me the kick start I needed to start using and enjoying the HF bands.
There were awards for chasers who contacted a park (my category) and activators who set up a temporary station in a park, as well as additional criteria for special awards based on number of units worked and promotional efforts during an activation.
I must admit that I was a bit late to the year-long party. I didn’t make my first NPOTA contact until September 17th. But soon, I was hooked. By the end of the year, I had confirmed 57 parks with 60 contacts, earning Honor Roll along the way. While that is a far cry from the top score in the program (K5RX had 460 contacts), for a new HF operator participating only 1/4th of the program duration, I am very happy with the outcome.
This is a video of the pileup for Fort Sumter on December 28th. I had already made contact, but the audio was so good I decided it needed to be documented.[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLESNHqg2QY]There is another program, called simply Parks on the Air, that will continue. This one is international and includes state parks, wildlife preserves, and some national forests – making activations much more feasible. I look forward to being able to setup activations during the upcoming year to A. H. Stephens State Park, Hamburg State Park, and possibly Hard Labor Creek State Park. I just need an effective portable antenna system first (suggestions welcome!).
Finally, for those who may be curious, here is a list of units I contacted. You can lookup more details about each park by using the designator (in the parenthetical) at the NPOTA website.
- Appalachian National Scenic Trail (TR01)
- Assateague Island National Seashore (SS01)
- Big Bend National Park (NP04)
- Blackstone River Valley National Historical Park (HP49)
- Blue Ridge Parkway (PK01)
- California National Historic Trail (TR14)
- Canaveral National Seashore (SS02)
- Chattahoochee River National Recreation Area (RC04)
- Chickamauga and Chattanooga National Military Park (MP01)
- De Soto National Memorial (NM05)
- Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area (RC07)
- Eightmile National Wild and Scenic River (WR15)
- Fallen Timbers Battlefield and Fort Miamis National Historic Site (AA06)
- Farmington National Wild and Scenic River (WR16)
- Fire Island National Seashore (SS07)
- Fort Caroline National Memorial (NM08)
- Fort Larned National Historic Site (NS21)
- Fort Monroe National Monument (MN32)
- Fort Sumter National Monument (MN35)
- Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (NS28)
- Frederick Law Olmsted National Historic Site (NS29)
- Fredericksburg and Spotsylvania County Battlefields Memorial National Military Park (MP02)
- Grand Canyon National Park (NP22)
- Green Springs National Historic Landmark District (AA09)
- Greenbelt Park (DZ04)
- Homestead NM of America National Monument (MN46)
- Ice Age National Scenic Trail (TR05)
- Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore (LK02)
- Jean Lafitte NHP and Preserve National Historical Park (HP17)
- Lake Meredith National Recreation Area (RC14)
- Lincoln Boyhood National Memorial (NM15)
- Lyndon B. Johnson National Historical Park (HP25)
- Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller National Historical Park (HP26)
- Minute Man National Historical Park (HP27)
- Mississippi National River and Recreation Areas (RV04)
- Monocacy National Battlefield (BF06)
- Natchez National Historical Park (HP29)
- Natchez Trace National Scenic Trail (TR02)
- Natural Bridge (AA26)
- North Country National Scenic Trail (TR04)
- Olympic National Park (NP44)
- Oregon National Historic Trail (TR07)
- Paterson Great Falls National Historical Park (HP34)
- Pecos National Historical Park (HP35)
- Petersburg National Battlefield (BF08)
- Santa Fe National Historic Trail (TR11)
- Saratoga National Historical Park (HP42)
- Springfield Armory National Historic Site (NS66)
- Steamtown National Historic Site (NS67)
- Sudbury, Assabet and Concord National Wild and Scenic River (WR31)
- Taunton National Wild and Scenic River (WR32)
- Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve National Preserve (PV16)
- Trail of Tears National Historic Trail (TR12)
- Waco Mammoth National Monument (MN81)
- Walnut Canyon National Monument (MN73)
- Westfield National Wild and Scenic River (WR38)
- William Howard Taft National Historic Site (NS78)
There are some decisions you absolutely know are right, but that doesn’t make them any more enjoyable. Yesterday, I resigned as Secretary-Treasurer of the Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club. I loved holding the position, but with everything else going on, I couldn’t guarantee that I would be able to be at every meeting.
The text of my resignation is below:
After much consideration and due to ongoing medical issues which preclude me from effectively performing my duties, I hereby resign my position as Secretary-Treasurer of the Milledgeville Amateur Radio Club effective at 10 AM on February 20, 2016.
I look forward to continued participation in the organization, but do not feel it is appropriate to continue in a role of an executive officer… I will provide the earlier archives to my replacement upon their convenience.
I will be happy to continue serving as webmaster, if that is agreeable to the club. I will also be happy to serve as a resource to the incoming Secretary-Treasurer.
I am grateful for the trust that was given to me, and I look forward to continuing my participation as a member.
Daniel R. Simpson – K4DRS
I know everything will be in good hands. My replacement is Charles, AI4UN, who held the office before I was elected in January, 2015. As always,
After being KF4JAL since 1996, I finally applied for a vanity call sign. It was approved and processed by the FCC this morning, and I am now officially K4DRS. My call isn’t close to my wife’s anymore, but that is okay.
I’m quite excited. Now, to get an HF radio and get it going around the world!