From: Michael C. Boatright (email@example.com)
Stuart is 100% correct. The original STA was specifically targeted for
testing the 80M NVIS/40M propagation issue.
In addition to being a rabid QRP'er (!), I am also the Section Emergency
Coordinator for the Georgia Section ARES. Georgia is the physically
largest state east of the Mississippi River. Our major statewide threat
(beyond bad guys named Osama and interlopers on 10M) is the possibility of
a hurricane striking the Georgia coast. Savannah, GA is a significant
population center, much which would be evacuated in the event of hurricane
into Red Cross shelters throughout the state. In addition, the NFL EMA
plan is to evacuate Jacksonville, FL into shelters in Georgia.
We have a real communications problem, because Savannah is 250+ miles away
from all of the state emergency management infrastructure. This poses
quite a communications challenge, particularly, during daylight hours in
the summer months when the hurricane threat is greatest.
I, for one, see the 60M band as helping with this problem, greatly. Does
this mean I'm not personally in favor of band plans, no not really. I'd
love to have a quiet place to have a chat. I've also personally observed
that bandplans do seem to inject a certain discipline to routine
operations--something valuable in the event of emergency.
It's been said in a lot of places, but the simple reality is, we get to
keep our amateur radio bands because of our perceived value to the
public. Radio spectrum is an EXTREMELY precious and limited
resource. FEMA, in particular, and agencies that it coordinates, looks
directly at amateur radio for it's value in times of emergency--that is,
"homeland defense" to use a somewhat overloaded phrase. Although we'd like
to think of amateur radio as a right, it is not--it is a privilege, and one
that comes with responsibility.
Personally, I'd love to recruit every single one of you as a member of the
organized Amateur Radio Emergency Service--but it simply does not work that
way. However, I know from personal experience that my rabid participation
in QRP activities has made me a much better operator (I would have never
put up an 80M loop were it not for my QRP buddies, and from my experience
with my own loop, we put one up at the GA EMA State Operations Center in
Atlanta, reducing a 40dB over 9 noise level down to S7, with commensurate
increase in S/N).
So with all that being said, have a GREAT time with your Field Days this
weekend. You may forget how important what you are doing is to the general
public, but I won't. Be rabid about it. Have
fun. Learn. Experiment. Every little bit contributes back, one way or
another--either through you personally, or through someone you mentor.
72/73 de Mike, KO4WX
Michael C. Boatright
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