PRC member takes main prize at Cleveland Hamfest
It was good to see many PRC members at the Cleveland Hamfest. In years past we’ve seen just about everything in terms of weather but this was certainly the hottest – 93 F. Member John Malloy, KA8VTV is glad he attended. John took the 1st prize of $400. Congratulations, John!
Home Brew Show + Swap and Shop
Home Brew Show and Tell Night & Swap and Shop has always been a big hit at the PRC. And that’s our program for October 2nd. Scratch your head and recall some homebrew projects or gadgets that would interest fellow members. There’s no limit to the topic. It doesn’t even have to be a gadget. As long as it’s radio related. If, while digging deep in the barrel you find some treasures you’d like to “unload”, bring them to the meeting as a Swap & Shop item. One man’s junk is another man’s treasure.
Amateur Radio’s Force of Fifty Answers the Red Cross Call in Puerto Rico
Fifty of the nation’s most accomplished Amateur Radio operators responded within 24 hours to the call of the American Red Cross to deploy to Puerto Rico and provide emergency communications. At the behest of Red Cross, ARRL rallied the US Amateur Radio community to provide up to 25 two-person teams of highly qualified hams. The group’s principal mission will be to move health-and-welfare information from the island back to the US mainland, where that data will be entered in the Red Cross “Safe & Well” website.
The group will deploy the middle of this week and remain on the island for up to 3 weeks.
ARRL will equip each two-person team with a modern digital HF transceiver, special software, a dipole antenna, a power supply and all the connecting cables, fitted in a rugged waterproof container. In addition, ARRL is sending a number of small, 2,000-W portable generators as well as solar-powered battery chargers of the variety the US military uses on extended deployments. The hams and their equipment will be sent to Red Cross shelters extending from San Juan to the western end of the island.
“This generous outpouring of response represents the finest qualities of the Amateur Radio community,” ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, said. “These individuals are dropping whatever they are doing now, heading off to an extended hardship-duty assignment, and offering their special talents to Americans who have been cut off from their families, living amid widespread destruction and without electrical power since Hurricane Maria struck the Caribbean region last week.”
ARRL’s Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, said this was the first time in the nearly 75-year relationship between ARRL and the American Red Cross that such as request for assistance had been made. “Hurricane Maria has devastated the island’s communications infrastructure,” Corey said. “Without electricity and telephone, and with most of the cell sites out of service, millions of Americans are cut off from communicating. Shelters are unable to reach local emergency services. And, people cannot check on the welfare of their loved ones. The situation is dire.”
How You Can Help
In a letter to all ARRL members, ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, asked for contributions to ARRL’s Ham Aid fund. “Equipment has been flying out the door since Hurricane Harvey struck the US mainland,” he emphasized. “From meeting requirements in aid of Hurricane Irma victims in the US Virgin Island and Florida, our store of Ham Aid kits has been depleted.”
ARRL’s Ham Aid program loans Amateur Radio equipment kits to established Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES®) groups and partner agencies during disaster responses, in order to establish Amateur Radio communication support. Ham Aid is supported by donations from individuals and corporations, including many of our ham radio industry partners.
ARRL has previously staged Ham Aid equipment in Texas, and in the last few weeks, ARRL has supplied kits to Florida, the US Virgin Islands, and Puerto Rico. With our Ham Aid inventory depleted, your donation is needed now. Contributions to Ham Aid are 100% tax deductible.
To make a donation online, go to the ARRL donation form and select “Ham Aid.” To donate by mail, print a donation form, and mail it with your check payable to ARRL, noting “Ham Aid” on the memo line of your check. Mail to ARRL, 225 Main St, Newington, CT 06111 USA.
Zello: The walkie talkie app helping in Harvey
from USA Today
As rescue efforts continue in and around Houston following Hurricane Harvey, one communications (phone) app is proving to be a lifesaver.
Zello is basically a walkie talkie in your pocket. Users push and hold a button to talk immediately with others on radio-style channels.
As rescuers and storm victims seek assistance during the aftermath of Harvey, Zello is among the go-to tech tools. Zello has seen 20 times as many new users in Houston on the app compared to the previous week.
“It’s centered on live voice,” said Zello CEO Bill Moore. “Our voice is how we most naturally communicate. A few seconds of voice has so much information on emotion, education, gender, what part of the country are they from.”
“Typically, a channel is going to have a handful of people on it,” said Moore. “Sometimes they get quite large.”
Zello started out as an app called Loudtalks in 2007. The company maintains the technology and formally launched as Zello four years later. As of February, Zello had 100 million registered users on iOS and Android.
This is not the first time Zello has seen usage spike during times of crisis. The Cajun Navy, a group of rescue volunteers begun after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, uses Zello regularly.
Moore says Zello has seen use increase during global uprisings, including ones in Egypt and the Ukraine, as well as protests in Venezuela. Zello was blocked during several of these events, most recently in Russia in April.
Moore says it’s “satisfying” Zello — based in Austin — has been so helpful for rescue efforts.
“Many of us have friends and family in Houston,” said Moore. “More broadly, technology like Zello allows people to solve things closer to the problem, where it’s so effective.”
Hal Rogers, K8CMD
Communications Director, President