The Ultimate Stealth Antenna?

From the 2010-01-26 issue of NIST Tech Beat:

Engineered Metamaterials Enable Remarkably Small Antennas

NIST Z Antenna
This Z antenna tested at the National Institute of Standards and Technology is smaller than a standard antenna with comparable properties. Its high efficiency is derived from the “Z element” inside the square that acts as a metamaterial, greatly boosting the signal sent over the air. The square is 30 millimeters on a side. Credit: C. Holloway/NIST

In an advance that might interest Q-Branch, the gadget makers for James Bond, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and partners from industry and academia have designed and tested experimental antennas that are highly efficient and yet a fraction of the size of standard antenna systems with comparable properties. The novel antennas may be useful in ever-shrinking and proliferating wireless systems such as emergency communications devices, micro-sensors and portable ground-penetrating radars to search for tunnels, caverns and other geophysical features.

NIST engineers are working with scientists from the University of Arizona (Tucson) and Boeing Research & Technology (Seattle, Wash.) to design antennas incorporating metamaterials—materials engineered with novel, often microscopic, structures to produce unusual properties. The new antennas radiate as much as 95 percent of an input radio signal and yet defy normal design parameters. Standard antennas need to be at least half the size of the signal wavelength to operate efficiently; at 300 MHz, for instance, an antenna would need to be half a meter long. The experimental antennas are as small as one-fiftieth of a wavelength and could shrink further.

In their latest prototype device,* the research team used a metal wire antenna printed on a small square of copper measuring less than 65 millimeters on a side. The antenna is wired to a signal source. Mounted on the back of the square is a “Z element” that acts as a metamaterial—a Z-shaped strip of copper with an inductor (a device that stores energy magnetically) in the center (see photo).

“The purpose of an antenna is to launch energy into free space,” explains NIST engineer Christopher Holloway, “But the problem with antennas that are very small compared to the wavelength is that most of the signal just gets reflected back to the source. The metamaterial makes the antenna behave as if it were much larger than it really is, because the antenna structure stores energy and re-radiates it.” Conventional antenna designs, Holloway says, achieve a similar effect by adding bulky “matching network” components to boost efficiency, but the metamaterial system can be made much smaller. Even more intriguing, Holloway says, “these metamaterials are much more ‘frequency agile.’ It’s possible we could tune them to work at any frequency we want, on the fly,” to a degree not possible with conventional designs.

The Z antennas were designed at the University of Arizona and fabricated and partially measured at Boeing Research & Technology. The power efficiency measurements were carried out at NIST laboratories in Boulder, Colo. The ongoing research is sponsored by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

* R.W. Ziolkowski, P. Jin, J.A. Nielsen, M.H. Tanielian and C.L. Holloway. Design and experimental verification of Z antennas at UHF frequencies. IEEE Antennas Wireless Propag. Lett., 2009 vol. 8, pp. 1329-1332.

International Amateur Radio Union E-Letter, January 2010

In this issue:

  • A Message From IARU President Tim Ellam
  • Haiti Earthquake Report

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A Message From Tim Ellam, VE6SH/G4HUA

Secretary Stafford requested that I provide an update on IARU activities for the IARU E-Letter. I am pleased to do so.

Some recent activities:

  • IARU Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD and IARU Coordinator for Emergency Communications, Hans Zimmermann, F5VKP/HB9AQS have attended meetings of the ITU Development Sector and are preparing for the World Telecommunications Development Conference to be held in Hyderābād, India in May.
  • IARU Vice President Ole Garpestad,LA2RR and I presented our credentials to ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT. We were fortunate to have a lengthy discussion with Dr. Touré where we outlined the goals for IARU within ITU. Dr. Touré expressed his appreciation of the activities of the IARU and the Amateur Service in general.
  • Prepare for the upcoming ITU Plenipotentiary Conference to be held in Veracruz, Mexico in October. Items on the agenda for this important meeting include the election of ITU officials and the consideration of changes to the ITU Convention and Constitution that may impact the role of observers such as the IARU. Region 2 Secretary Ramon Santoyo V, XE1KK is working with the Mexican society, FMRE, to arrange an amateur station for this event.
  • Vice President Garpestad and I attended meetings of ITU-Working Party 5A. In particular, we took part in Working Group 1 headed, for the first time, by new Chairman Ken Pulfer VE3PU. This gave us a chance to meet in person with a number of the members of the WRC-12 team. Both Ole and I were very pleased with the efforts that are being made in Working Group 1 and Working Party 5.
  • At our recent meeting in Christchurch, the AC established a common position with respect to the WRC-12 agenda items that are of interest to the Amateur Services.
  • Amateur Radio Administrative Courses (ARACs) are in the process of being planned in both Laos and Oman for later this year.
  • Developed a plan to have the IARU better represented before some Regional Telecommunication Organizations.
  • Put in place a proposal to have more than one AC meeting a year with the additional meeting to be held on a “virtual” basis either through radio conferencing or teleconferencing.
  • Communication amongst the AC members and the team preparing for WRC-12 has been assisted by the establishment of two email reflectors. This, I think, went a long way in enhancing our discussions during the AC meeting which was held in Christchurch, New Zealand last October.

I am very pleased with the cooperative approach of the AC members and our WRC-12 team and I think it bodes well for our future activities.

When I was first elected to this position, I provided the AC members with my view of our goals for 2009-2014. It is my hope that we should strive to make the IARU the global voice of the Amateur Radio Services and the world’s leading organization of Amateur Radio Member Societies. I believe we are well along in that process.

One of our other goals is to provide more effective communication to Regions and Member Societies. Hopefully we are improving in that respect through some of the mechanisms we now have in place, such as this E-Letter. We also wanted interact with our Member Societies more frequently than we have in the past. Ole, Rod and I have been able to do that in the past few months by our attendance at various Hamfests or in meeting with Societies directly. We both plan to have similar meetings throughout 2010.

Finally, I would like thank each of you for your continued support of the IARU and its activities. Our work together will continue to enhance the position of the Amateur Radio Services.

Please feel free to contact me or any member of the officer team if you have any questions or issues that you would like to raise. I can be reached by email at ve6sh@iaru.org.

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Haiti Earthquake
Note: The following account of the activities related to the response to the earthquake in Haiti that took place on January 12, 2010 is taken from the ARRL web site and provides information that is available as of January 14, 2010.

On Tuesday, January 12 at 4:53 PM Haiti time (2153 UTC), a magnitude 7.0 earthquake hit 10 miles (15 kilometers) west of Port-au-Prince, the island nation’s capital. Communications in and out of Haiti have been disrupted. The ARRL encourages US amateurs to be aware of the emergency operations on the following frequencies: 7.045 and 3.720 MHz (IARU Region 2 nets), 14.265, 7.265 and 3.977 MHz (SATERN nets), and 14.300 MHz (Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net); the International Radio Emergency Support Coalition (IRESC) is also active on EchoLink node 278173.

There was no firm estimate on how many people were killed by Tuesday’s quake. Haitian President Rene Preval said the toll could be in the thousands: “Let’s say that it’s too early to give a number.”

Tuesday’s quake was felt in the Dominican Republic, which shares the island of Hispaniola with Haiti, and in Eastern Cuba, but no major damage was reported in either place. The January 13 edition of The Daily DX reported that the Rev John Henault, HH6JH, made contact late Wednesday morning with the Intercontinental Assistance and Traffic Net (IATN) on 14.300 MHz; this is the IARU Global Center of Activity frequency for emergency communications. He said that he was safe, but had no power and no phone service. He was operating on battery power and hoping to get a generator running later in the day. The edition also noted that Pierre Petry, HH2/HB9AMO — who was in Cap Haitien (about 140 km north of Port-au-Prince) is safe; Petry is in Haiti working for the United Nations World Food Program.

On Wednesday afternoon, Fred Moore, W3ZU, assisted Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR, with a phone patch to his friend Ariel in Miami. “It’s bad, it literally is bad,” Gaillard told Ariel. “We don’t know how many people are dead. We do not know what to expect. It’s chaos, I’m telling you — it’s real chaos. We are really in a disaster area. It’s really a war zone. Many, many buildings in the downtown area are stripped from the ground with many people buried underneath them – you name it, it’s bad.” Gaillard, who lives in Port-au-Prince, was using his neighbor’s generator to make the contact. “It’s really chaotic. I’ve never been in a war, but this is what a war zone would be like. Dead bodies all over the place, dead bodies buried. All I can tell you is that I’m okay, my house is okay. We’ve had 30 aftershocks, the main one yesterday. We are expecting some more shocks, so I’m a bit nervous to be inside the house.”

According to IARU Region 3 Disaster Communications Chairman Jim Linton, VK3PC, members of the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD) — the Dominican Republic’s IARU Member-Society — and Union Dominicana de Radio Aficionados (UDRA) are preparing to go to Port au Prince on the morning of Friday, January 15, where they will install HI8RCD/HH, an emergency radio communications station and a mobile station.

FEMA (U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency) Administrator Craig Fugate advised that US assets should not self-deploy to affected areas. “Initial reports from Haiti in the wake of yesterday’s earthquake are concerning and troubling,” he said. “During times like these, the emergency response community always stands ready to assist those in need. The United States Department of State has the lead for foreign disaster assistance, and US assets should deploy only if tasked to do so by the State Department. The most urgent need that the response community can fulfill at this time is supporting ongoing disaster relief fund-raising efforts.”

On Thursday, January 14th, planes carrying teams from China and France, Spain and the United States landed at Port-au-Prince’s airport with searchers and tons of water, food, medicine and other supplies — with more promised from around the globe. US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said that “tens of thousands, we fear, are dead” and said United States and the world must do everything possible to help Haiti surmount its “cycle of hope and despair.” The US Army said a detachment of more than 100 soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division was heading out from Fort Bragg in North Carolina, looking for locations to set up tents and other essentials in preparation for the arrival of another 800 personnel on Friday. That’s in addition to some 2200 Marines to be sent, as the military prepares to help with security, search and rescue missions and the delivery of humanitarian supplies. More than a half-dozen US military ships also are expected to help, with the largest, the aircraft carrier USS Carl Vinson, arriving later Thursday.

Calls to emergency services weren’t getting through because systems that connect different phone networks were still not working, said officials from a telecommunications provider in Haiti. The International Telecommunication Union (ITU) is deploying 40 satellite terminals and 60 units with broadband facility to re-establish basic communication links, along with experts to operate them. The ITU will also set up “a reliable, responsive and complete cellular system designed to enable vital wireless communications aimed at strengthening response and recovery mechanisms in a disaster zone,” said ITU Emergency Communications Division Chief Cosmas Zavazava. The ITU has allocated a budget of more than $1 million US dollars to strengthen the disaster response effort in Haiti.

ITU Secretary-General Hamadoun Touré, HB9EHT, expressed his solidarity with the people of Haiti and offered his condolences to the bereaved victims of the disaster. “The whole world is in shock following the devastation and untold misery caused by the earthquake in Haiti,” Dr Touré said. “ITU will do everything possible to provide assistance to the people of Haiti by re-establishing telecommunication links which will be vital in the rescue and rehabilitation efforts in the days ahead.”

“The scope of the disaster clearly shows that the response to this is going to be a long term effort,” said ARRL Media and Public Relations Manager Allen Pitts, W1AGP. “The ARRL has been in contact with communications leaders of the American Red Cross and Salvation Army, as well as other key Amateur Radio operators throughout the region. As teams from the hundreds of responding agencies worldwide are formed for deployment, many will have Amateur Radio components. ARRL is committed to providing communications aid to our served agencies and working with the international community in this time of crisis. At this time there are no known requests from agencies for amateurs to travel to Haiti, but this can change. If it develops that there are ARES® assignments for a deployment in Haiti, these will be vetted and processed through each Section’s Section Emergency Coordinators.”

The situation in Haiti is still chaotic. More information will be posted on the ARRL web site (www.arrl.org) as soon as possible. Information is being validated and shared between many amateur groups and news sources as it unfolds.

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If you have any information that would be appropriate to publish in this electronic newsletter, please contact me at w6rod@iaru.org.

Rod Stafford W6ROD
IARU Secretary

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The IARU E-Letter is published on behalf on the Administrative Council of the International Amateur Radio Union by the IARU International Secretariat. Editor: David Sumner, K1ZZ, IARU Secretary.

Material from The IARU E-Letter may be republished or reproduced in whole or in part in any form without additional permission. Credit must be given to The IARU E-Letter and The International Amateur Radio Union.

More Video: Ham Radio Connects Haitians to Loved Ones in the U.S.

While we’re at it, here’s a video report from CNN about the work one ham is doing to pass traffic to and from Haiti:

Wanna Work for the ARRL?

This came from the ARRL PR Mailing List:

Manager, Emergency Preparedness and Response

Primary Objective of Position:
Develop and maintain ARRL’s Emergency Communications and Emergency Preparedness functions, both internally and externally.

Accountability:
The Manager, Emergency Preparedness and Response reports to the Manager of the Membership and Volunteer Programs Department.

Qualifications:

  1. At least five years experience with amateur radio emergency communications in ARES or equivalent and completion of ARRL EmComm Level I course
  2. Experience as emergency communications professional and/or first responder desired, including knowledge of and experience with ICS and NIMS. Completion of FEMA Courses IC-100, IC-200, IC-700, IC-800 and IC-802 highly recommended
  3. General Class or higher Amateur Radio license required
  4. Ability to interface effectively with all levels of emergency management professionals.
  5. Experience managing volunteers
  6. Currently or previously staff member or volunteer for and/or knowledge of governmental and NGO emergency and disaster relief agencies
  7. High level presentation, verbal and writing skills
  8. Strong organizational ability
  9. Bachelor’s degree

Areas of Responsibility:

  1. Represent the ARRL with governmental and non-governmental emergency and disaster response organizations and partners, primarily at the National level, for planning, continuity and operational purposes.
  2. Develop plans, protocols, and procedures to address amateur radio’s role in emergency communications operations at the multi-section, regional, and national level.
  3. Lead and train ARRL Headquarters Incident Management Team to provide support and coordination for multi-section, regional or national incidents in the planning, mitigation and response phases.
  4. Maintain and report situational awareness through disaster intelligence collection during large disaster and emergency circumstances that require a multi-section, regional, or national response.
  5. Improve existing and create new operational solutions and processes for the ARES program including training and operational standards consistent with NIMS/ICS, response protocols in conjunction with ARRL staff and members of the Field Organization.
  6. Maintain and update EPR content on the ARRL Website.
  7. Represent ARRL at National (and regional, when requested) Amateur Radio organizations, served agency partner meetings, conventions and exercises.
  8. Review and assure compliance with existing MOUs with government and non-government agencies and served agency partners.
  9. Monitor ARES and nationwide Emcomm status and provide reports to management, Field leadership and to ARRL governance bodies, when requested.
  10. Provide assistance and guidance to Section Managers and Section Emergency Coordinators regarding emergency preparedness and response.
  11. Create original content and assure accuracy and timeliness of other content for QST articles, the ARES-E Newsletter and other media, as required.
  12. Establish annual plans and budgets for the EP&R branch and manage to those goals in conjunction with the MVP Manager.
  13. Other duties as assigned.

To apply, please e-mail your cover letter and resume to:
Monique Levesque
ARRL
225 Main Street
Newington, CT 06111
fax: 860-594-0298
email: mlevesque@arrl.org

Please include your salary history and/or requirements. ARRL is an equal opportunity employer.

Ham Radio Bill Passes Senate, Moves to House

At first, I wasn’t going to blog about this, but one of my readers persuaded me that it was noteworthy. This is a condensation of a news item on the ARRL website. Read the complete article, then contact your representative and tell him or her that you support this bill……Dan

On Monday, December 14, S 1755 — The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 — passed the Senate by unanimous consent; the bill now goes to the House of Representatives for consideration. Sponsored by Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), and Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), S 1755, if passed, would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to undertake a study on emergency communications. S 1755 points out that “There is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of Amateur Radio Service stations, and that performance must be given — (A) support at all levels of government; and (B) protection against unreasonable regulation and impediments to the provision of the valuable communications provided by such stations.”

Similar in language to HR 2160 (also called The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 that was introduced this past April by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee [D-TX-18]), S 1755 calls on DHS to undertake a study on the uses and capabilities of Amateur Radio Service communications in emergencies and disaster relief and then to submit a report to Congress no more than 180 days after the bill becomes law. The study shall:

  • Include a review of the importance of Amateur Radio emergency communications in furtherance of homeland security missions relating to disasters, severe weather and other threats to lives and property in the United States, as well as recommendations for enhancements in the voluntary deployment of Amateur Radio licensees in disaster and emergency communications and disaster relief efforts and improved integration of Amateur Radio operators in planning and furtherance of the Department of Homeland Security initiatives.
  • Identify impediments to enhanced Amateur Radio Service communications, such as the effects of unreasonable or unnecessary private land use regulations on residential antenna installations; and make recommendations regarding such impediments for consideration by other federal departments, agencies and Congress.

Demonstration Network Planned for Public Safety 700 MHz Broadband

This is from the 12/15/09 edition of NIST Tech Beat, a publication of the National Institute of Technology. Shouldn’t hams be doing something like this?…..Dan

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) have announced plans to create a demonstration broadband communications network for the nation’s emergency services agencies using a portion of the radiofrequency spectrum freed up by the recent transition of U.S. broadcast television from analog to digital technologies. The new system will provide a common demonstration site for manufacturers, carriers, and public safety agencies to test and evaluate advanced broadband communications equipment and software tailored specifically to the needs of emergency first responders.

Public safety agencies are looking to make use of the 700 MHz broadband spectrum cleared by the switch to digital TV. A unified broadband system would allow public safety agencies to communicate with nationwide roaming and enhanced interoperability. However, there are currently no government or independent laboratory facilities in the United States to test and demonstrate the public safety specific behaviors of this yet-to-be-deployed 700 MHz network and the applications that could run on top of it.

To address this critical gap, NIST and NTIA, through their Public Safety Communications Research (PSCR) program, will begin building a Public Safety Broadband Demonstration Network to provide manufacturers with a site for early deployment of their systems, an opportunity to evaluate them in a multi-vendor environment, and create integration opportunities for commercial service providers. A national broadband network could offer public safety groups around the country access to advanced communications technologies including video, mapping and GPS applications and more. Emergency responders, vendors, carriers, academia and other pertinent stakeholders also will able to access the demonstration network.

“This is an excellent opportunity for NIST and the PSCR to leverage our skills and assets to ensure the successful adoption and deployment of a new, nationwide communications system for public safety,” says Dereck Orr, PSCR program manager. “The demonstration of these new technologies, implementations and services is a critical step in successfully deploying the next generation of mission-critical systems.”

This demonstration network is currently in the preliminary planning stages and is expected to go live in mid-2010. Interested industry and public safety representatives can contact Orr at (303) 497-5400, dereck.orr@nist.gov, or Jeff Bratcher at (303) 497-4610, jbratcher@its.bldrdoc.gov, for information on how to get involved.

The PSCR program is a partnership of the NIST Office of Law Enforcement Standards and the NTIA’s Institute for Telecommunication Sciences (NTIA ITS). PSCR provides objective technical support—research, development, testing and evaluation—in order to foster nationwide public safety communications interoperability. More information is available on the PSCR Web site.

For Safer Emergencies, Give Your Power Generator Some Space

From the 10/6/09 issue of NIST Tech Beat:

NIST research that shows that placing a generator 15 feet from your home may not be far away enough to keep deadly carbon monoxide from entering your house. Watch the video!

cookie disclaimer/privacy policy | download .mp4 | descriptive text for the visually impaired

NIST research that shows that placing a generator 15 feet from your home may not be far away enough to keep deadly carbon monoxide from entering your house. Watch the video!

To subdue the steaming heat of hurricanes or to thaw out during a blizzard, gasoline-powered, portable generators are a lifeline during weather emergencies when homes are cut off without electricity. But these generators emit poisonous carbon monoxide—a single generator can produce a hundred times more of the colorless, odorless gas than a modern car’s exhaust. New research from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) shows that to prevent potentially dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, users may need to keep generators farther from the house than previously believed—perhaps as much as 25 feet.

Up to half of the incidents of non-fatal carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning reported in the 2004 and 2005 hurricane seasons involved generators run within 7 feet of the home, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Carbon monoxide can enter a house through a number of airflow paths, such as a door or window left open to accommodate the extension cord that brings power from the generator into the house. While some guidance recommends 10 feet from open windows as a safe operating distance, NIST researcher Steven Emmerich says the “safe” operating distance depends on the house, the weather conditions and the unit. A generator’s carbon monoxide output is usually higher than an automobile’s, he says, because most generators do not have the sophisticated emission controls that cars do.

“People need to be aware that generators are potentially deadly and they need to educate themselves on proper use,” Emmerich says. With funding from CDC, NIST researchers are gathering reliable data to support future CDC guidance.

NIST building researchers simulated multiple scenarios of a portable generator operating outside of a one-story house, using both a test structure and two different computer models—the NIST-developed CONTAM indoor air quality model and a computational fluid dynamics model.

The simulations included factors that could be controlled by humans, such as generator location, exhaust direction and window-opening size, and environmental factors such as wind, temperature and house dimensions. In the simulations the generator was placed at various distances from the house and tested under different weather conditions.

“We found that for the house modeled in this study,” researcher Leon Wang says, “a generator position 15 feet away from open windows was not far enough to prevent carbon monoxide entry into the house.”

Winds perpendicular to the open window resulted in more carbon monoxide entry than winds at an angle, and lower wind speeds generally allowed more carbon monoxide in the house. “Slow, stagnant wind seems to be the worst case because it leads to the carbon monoxide lingering by the windows,” Wang explains. Researchers determined that placing the generator outside of the airflow recirculation regions near the open windows reduced carbon monoxide entry.

In the next phase of the study NIST will model a two-story house that researchers believe will interact with the wind differently. NIST researchers also have worked with the Consumer Product Safety Commission on related work. (See: “NIST to Study Hazards of Portable Gasoline-Powered Generators,” NIST Tech Beat, March 5, 2008.)

The generator study can be downloaded at http://fire.nist.gov/bfrlpubs/build09/PDF/b09009.pdf.

* L. Wang and S.J. Emmerich. Modeling the Effects of Outdoor Gasoline Powered Generator Use on Indoor Carbon Monoxide Exposures. (NIST Technical Note 1637,) 2009.

Singularity U Tackles EmComm

According to its website,

Singularity University (SU) is an interdisciplinary university whose mission is to assemble, educate and inspire a cadre of leaders who strive to understand and facilitate the development of exponentially advancing technologies in order to address humanity’s grand challenges. With the support of a broad range of leaders in academia, business and government, SU hopes to stimulate groundbreaking, disruptive thinking and solutions aimed at solving some of the planet’s most pressing challenges. SU is based at the NASA Ames campus in Silicon Valley.

They recently completed their first nine-week, graduate-level interdisciplinary program and, on August 27, presented results to SU faculty and staff and leaders from the Silicon Valley community in an “open academic exercise.”

One of the teams tackled the problem of emergency communications. Here’s what one reporter had to say:

Next to present was Team Xidar with its proposal to revolutionize the field of disaster recovery. According to Team Xidar, there is a golden window of 24 hours after an earthquake or other major disaster when thousands of lives can be saved or lost, depending on whether proper treatment and triage can be allocated to those in need. By developing phone applications to provide crowdsourced information about the location and status of those in need as well as those in a position to provide help, Team Xidar proposes to radically change disaster response. The application can be supplemented dynamically with critical information, such as fire extinguisher locations, rendezvous coordinates, etc. to give those in need the information they need to survive.

Hmmmmmm. I wonder if these guys ever considered that cellphones won’t be working in a real disaster? You can bet that they didn’t include amateur radio in their proposal.

Someone should really get in touch with these folks and critique this work.

September is National Preparedness Month

I’m not a big ARES/RACES guy, but this item from the ARRL Letter for 9/4/09 deserves a little extra play:

==> SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH

Once again this year, ARRL is a coalition member of the National Preparedness Month. This event is an annual nationwide effort held each September to encourage Americans to take simple steps to prepare for emergencies in their homes, businesses and schools.

National Preparedness Month 2009 is sponsored by the US Department of Homeland Security. The goal is to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action. Throughout September and the months surrounding it, Homeland Security will work together with a wide variety of organizations, including local, state and federal government agencies and the private sector, to highlight the importance of family and business emergency preparedness, as well as to promote individual involvement through events and activities across the nation.

More information can be found online . You are encouraged to consider this year’s ARRL Simulated Emergency Test and all preparations as well as post exercise evaluations as a demonstration of your readiness and Amateur Radio’s readiness. Be an active participant in SET, and join others nationwide in National Preparedness Month.

One reason that this deserves some play is that emergency-preparedness groups are a good place to recruit new hams. Every SkyWarn member, for example, should have an amateur radio license. So should nearly every local Red Cross volunteer. Go get ‘em.