I hope all is going well with you.
To start our newsletter I’ll give a quick reminder that the ALERT elections will be held at our June meeting. The elections were originally scheduled for May but were preempted due to the aftermath of the April 27th tornadoes. The NWS, in addition to dealing with numerous storm surveys, were flooded by media, politicians and other dignitaries, including the head of NOAA. So, it seemed prudent for us to reschedule.
After the elections there will be changes in ALERT leadership, including a new President, as I decided that after four years as President it was time to pass the office to another worthy soul.
As I leave office I wish to thank you for your patience and support over these past four years. I think it has been a productive four years. Much has been accomplished, among which were the ratification of new Bylaws, the achievement, due to the tireless efforts of Ed KD4AY, of Tax-exempt status, and challenges that were encountered and challenges that were answered.
It’s been an interesting ride and adventure, one, which more times than not, I have enjoyed.
Mark, isn’t going anywhere, by the way. I have the strong suspicion that he will end up with another role and opportunity in the ALERT leadership structure in the very near future.
I urge you to support & encourage your new President and stand by him as you have me.
Thank you again for being there for me and for ALERT.
Opportunity and Responsibility
One unique characteristic of Amateur Radio has been our mentoring or “Elmering” tradition.
In the “old days” an older ham would train, test and coach new Novices in the proper ways of being a ham radio operator.
My mentor or Elmer was Jim Bonner, K4UMD. He taught me much, steering me in the right directions and if He thought I was about to mess up, would letting me know. Something I’ll always be grateful for.
Just remember, that if I’m a goofwad, it’s all K4UMD’s fault. I, after all, am an innocent angel.
Mentoring has also always been a tradition of our local ham clubs, as they had classes over weeks teaching in detail the theories, requirements and dos and don’ts. The new hams learned and knew that the teachers were there when they needed help and advice.
Now it seems we are seeing the beginnings of a trend of “one day classes and testing”. Will this approach, which some are referring to as “drive through testing”, end up being the preferred method of building up the ham ranks?
Personally, I hope not, as there are pitfalls to this approach, not the least of which is the possibility that mentoring process from which we have all benefited will fade from the picture. This is not a good thing, but, perhaps inevitable, unless it is purposely factored into the process. For this rapid fire process losses that “personal approach” of one on one interaction and familiarization.
But, this, as has always been since the dawn of ham radio, is where we – the older hams must come it. We must step up to the plate and become the mentors guiding the new hams, encouraging them both by word and example, in what they should and should not be doing.
Cussing the process isn’t the answer, but helping and teaching our new hams is and always will be the answer.
Whether new hams are entering the hobby for fun, adventure, comradery or merely to use ham radio as a fairly inexpensive communications too for their emergency group, they all start the same way, testing methods aside, as we did. We started knowing a little and learned 98% of what we know now by trail, error and experience using the advice and examples of the older operators.
The license just opens the door. We have the opportunity and responsibility to mold the next generation into what it can be.
Don’t cuss them for trying. Help them become what be they can be.
Have you talked to a new KK4 today?
When you do greet them with a smile.
After all, you are their teacher.
Atlantic Hurricane Season Begins
With the beginning of June we enter the 2011 North Atlantic Hurricane Season & now comes the time to review our preparedness plans.
Hurricane Impact & Hurricane Response
Alabama is impacted by hurricanes in three ways:
- Direct Impact – Where the core of the storm or the rain / wind field actually strikes or passes through a portion of Alabama. Examples being Hurricane’s Fredrick, Opal, Ivan or Katrina.
- Indirect Impact – where the core is not over Alabama, but the feeder bands are passing through and causing havoc. Rita’s feeder band being a good example, which dropped 20
tornadoes over west Alabama in a 4 hour period. I was NCS on 88 as Tuscaloosa County
was hit by 10 tornadoes. Some on the ground simultaneously, north and south in the county, during this – the second largest one day tornado outbreak on record.
- Distant Impact – A storm is not even near Alabama, but, affecting our weather. Such as with Olivia, a Pacific Hurricane which was off Western Mexico. Her moisture was captured by the jet stream, crossed the Sonora desert, the Arklatex region & dumped monsoon type rains on Alabama & Mississippi, causing flooding.
ALERT typically will activate during scenarios 1 & 2. Most of our activity when the storm is near the coast normally has been on HF at 3.965 or the backup 40 meter frequency of 7.225. However, since we currently are without HF capability and with the ever improving coverage on D-Star, ALERT’s coverage would concentrate on monitoring D-Star directly and HF using a liaison station monitoring HF offsite.
Then as the storm moves northward into the BMX County Warning Area the focus would then shift to the individual county Skywarn Nets, as we would do during a “normal” callout.
HF Gulf Coast Nets to monitor are:
Primary State ARES Frequencies & Nets for Gulf of Mexico & regular meeting times.
3.965 MHz Alabama Emergency Net Mike 4:00 PM Sunday
3.940 MHz Florida Amateur Single Sideband Net 6:00 PM
3.975 MHz Georgia Single Sideband Net 7:30 PM
3.910 MHz Louisiana Traffic Net 6:30 PM
3.862 MHz Mississippi Section Phone Net 6:00 PM
3.873 MHz Texas Traffic Net 6:30 PM
Wide Coverage Nets
14.235 MHz Hurricane Watch Net As Needed
3.935 MHz Central Gulf Coast Hurricane Net 1:00 UTC
The Hurricane Watch Net is only activated when a storm is within 300 miles of a populated land mass. This net is one where you don’t check in to, only listen. Only if you have a legitimate need to check in do you do so – emergency/priority traffic or if the NCS specifically calls for a station in Central Alabama, only then should you pick the microphone up. Or, if they do actually give a call for general checkins.
Some Internet resources you should have in your armory include:
http://www.nhc.noaa.gov/ – The National Hurricane Center out of Coral Gables, FL
http://14300stream.homeip.net:88/broadwave.asx?src=fhwn&kbps=16 Hurricane Watch Net Streaming Audio
http://euler.atmos.colostate.edu/~vigh/guidance/ Hurricane Forecast Models
http://www.nrlmry.navy.mil/TC.html Satellite imagery and data – worldwide
http://www.ssd.noaa.gov/PS/TROP/trop-atl.html Storm centered satellite imagery
Many other resources, including coastal radar picket, Caribbean & Mexican radar,
charts and satellite imagery can be found at www.freewebs.com/weatherlynx/ and
clicking on “Tropics, Charts & Satellites”.
This is my own website, which I am shamelessly hawking. I created it so I could access weather resources at K4NWS and offsite.
Lately, besides Alabama I’ve had visitors from Germany, Sweden, France, Italy, Russia and Brisbane Australia.
At 5400 plus hits (5000 of which are mine) it can’t be too wrong.
Originally the fourth Roman Month, June at one time had 29 days, until Julius Caesar in a glow of inspiration added the 30th day.
What June was named for is uncertain. Some say it was named for Juno, wife & sister of Jupiter.
Storm activity retains many of the characteristics of spring, but more and more the pattern takes on the summer pattern of pop-up thunderstorms.
Hurricane season begins, however June hurricanes are usually small and of minor intensity, occurring roughly once every two years.
The centers for June Tropical Cyclone activity are the extreme Western Caribbean, with the storm tracks striking the Yucatan or veering toward Western Florida & the Southwestern Gulf of Mexico, with the storm tracks aiming toward the Mexican mainland.
The center of maximum tornadic activity shifts northward over Kansas and Iowa. Activity in Texas and Oklahoma dies down. There is a 5% decrease in tornadic activity over the May average & by June fourth 50% of the years tornadoes have occurred.
Summer Solstice will occur at 12:16 PM CDT on June 21.
June’s Full Moon is “Strawberry Moon” in Native American folklore.
Remember June 25th and mark it on your calendar & on that date remember Christmas, for this is what Christmas day feels like in Northern Australia.
Now for the most important Nugget O’ Knowledge that you will get from this newsletter. In June ducks loose all their flight feathers at once and are incapable of flying.
You only get “stuff” like this in the ALERT Newsletter.
This month’s meeting will be on June 14 at 7PM at the National Weather Service
Forecast office at the Shelby County Airport.
Hope to see you there!
Mark / WD4NYL