Section Emergency Coordinator Transition

After serving the Northern Florida Section since 2018, Karl Martin – K4HBN has stepped down from the position of Section Emergency Coordinator due to personal reasons.  Karl was instrumental in the creation of the Florida Tri-Section ARES Position Task Book and many other efforts to help unify ARES across the state.  “It’s been a privilege working with you these past years.  I hope to still be an active participant in the Section and ARES so I may help in any way I can,” said Karl in his message to the section’s Emergency Coordinators.

Stepping into the role is Arc Thames – W4CPD.  Arc is no stranger to incident management having served in the Auxiliary Unit of the Crestview, FL Police Department for nine years, ending as the Lieutenant of their volunteer police force.  In 2019 Arc’s focus shifted to amateur radio in Santa Rosa County where he became an ARES Assistant Emergency Coordinator.  In 2020, just prior to Hurricanes Sally and Zeta that impacted the county, Arc succeeded Ray Crepeau-K1HG as ARES Emergency Coordinator of Santa Rosa County.  “I have worked with Arc for some time, and I think he will make a great SEC.  I look forward to working with him during the transition,” said Karl-K4HBN.

“I’m extremely excited, energized, and thankful to be given this opportunity,” said Arc-W4CPD.  Arc says he has many ideas he hopes will continue the work Karl-K4HBN had started.  As to not lose his talent and wealth of knowledge in emergency communications and ARES, Arc has asked Karl to stay on as Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator.  “Stay tuned for great things ahead,” said Arc-W4CPD.

For more information on the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) program in the Northern Florida Section, visit their website

Sharing Ham Radio w/Visitors

Tonight’s #hamventure consists of a conversation with two fine younger gentlemen that stopped by for a discussion on inspiration on how to reach out to the community not only during the holidays, but all year long. The two young gentlemen discussed how to take care of our fellow residents from within and promote positive efforts for those who would benefit from a simple hello to a handshake in our hopefully post COVID-19 world. During the conversation they asked about the antenna on the truck and asked if was for #hamradio. Well y’all know what happened next! A full breakdown of ham radio and even an operational example with Echolink and its capabilities along with the telling of recent activities for how involved we are as radio operators with the community! During the conversation one of the gentlemen discussed how he already has a radio and is very interested in getting licensed!

As the conversation ended, information was shared for how to get them started in the right direction and how we could interact to assist them with their journey.#HamOn!

Pensacola Amateur Radio Class

The Five Flags Amateur Radio Association & Pensacola State College (PSC) is again sponsoring the “Amateur Radio Introduction & Upgrade” (Course # R06254) course at the PSC main campus. Registration is through the Continual Education Dept of PSC, since this course is not a college credited course. The cost is $22.00 for the 10-week course that meets on Tuesday and Thursday Evening from 6-8:30 PM.)

Pensacola Fair Volunteers

Thanks to Hal-WA5HC, we (the amateur radio operators in the panhandle) have the opportunity to setup a booth and demonstrate amateur radio to visitors at this year’s Pensacola Interstate Fair. The fair runs from October 21-31, 2021. The hours Mon-Fri are 4:00-10:00P and on the weekends 11:00-10:00PM.

We need your help! To take advantage of this FREE opportunity, we must staff the demo booth for the duration of the event. We have created an online signup that you can sign up for as many shifts as you wish. The weekends have been split up into a morning and evening shift. We’d like to have 3 volunteers during each shift if at all possible. We plan on having a special event station as well to commemorate the event.

At least one operator from each shift will need to bring an HF, VHF, and UHF radio as we can’t leave equipment on site. We will coordinate with the teams as we get closer to the event. All clubs in the area are invited to share their brochures, etc. with us so we can direct folks to the club located nearest them.

If you can help, please click here to sign up online. For more information, please email [email protected].

Pensacola DRG Group

Pensacola DRG Class 9530 Nims Lane
For August 10th, 2021 2d Tues at 6 pm
At ESAR – 9530 Nims Lane, Pensacola
Distancing and/or wear masks will be your choice,
The room is quite large. There will be snacks and drinks as always.
This will be the 3d meeting since COVID, hope everyone is doing well now.
We are going toward our 5th year as a user group and over 100 registered in class !
Hope everyone continues to tune into the repeater for the world wide net TG91 on
Saturdays at 11am. The net continues to grow with countries world wide checking in.
Please check in thru the repeater when they call for 4 call sign zone, on time slot 1 !
All net check ins are listed on the WW TG91 web page for each Saturday.
Discussion subjects for this class:
We will review the following briefly: (some new dmr folks).
For others this will be a good refresher on some key things.

  1. The NEW Hoseline and it’s features (allows you to listen to DMR TGs with a PC).
  2. The process of building a code plug. Easy as 1,2,3 method.
  3. Also various Brandmeister tools, including real time monitoring of stations and TGs.
    One new item is the fact that the world wide database has now gone over 200,000.
    Only the Anytone D578 and the latest firmware, it can now load up to 500,000.
    All other radios have reached their database load at 200,000. We can certainly hope new
    firmware for the Anytone handhelds may get updated firmware to load more data, but
    probably unlikely. I will cover CSV and BIN database files, how to edit them for a
    smaller size that will load into these radios. There are some online websites that allow
    you to edit databases but as of right now, all charge a fee for that.
    We will cover the Anytone band plan in their new radios and how sometimes it can
    prevent you from loading a code plug, or going out of band. There is a solution.
    Other questions and/or discussions in class are always welcomed.
    With hurricane season upon us, both WB4OQF UHF and VHF repeaters are available
    for use. Your DMR capability could provide a valuable service during an emergency.
    Code plugs, CPS software and databases for DMR and Dstar radios are available at the
    meetings. Please bring a thumb drive. Anyone that would like to share subject matter,
    please let Greg, WB4KKJ, Tom W9TAB or myself Don, WB4OQF know.
    Snacks, drinks, and programming assistance provided at every meeting !

New ARES Logo Items

The ARRL has released 2 brand new ARES logo items available for purchase on their website.

The first is a magnetic sign that you can use on your vehicle. Show your support for ARES, ARRL, and Radio Communications with this magnetic sign! Perfect for displaying on your vehicle at public service and emergency communications activities.  Get yours for $10 with code ARES10. Offer applies to one sign per order, and ends August 1, 2021.

ARRL The National Association for Amateur Radio. Radio Communications.

The second is a new tactical navy polo shirt with the ARES logo.  The dark navy-blue ARES tactical polo isn’t your average polo shirt – it’s built with moisture-wicking fabric and a relaxed fit that is ideal for the prepared emergency communicator. This stylish but tough, 100% polyester shirt is snag-proof, breathable, and fights odors. Packed with functional features like a double pen pocket on the sleeve and a mic-loop on the shoulder, this polo is fit for any challenging situation.

ARES Tactical Dark Navy Polo

ARRL PS Honor Roll

Ever wonder what you can do to get credit for all of those things you do in amateur radio? Here’s your chance! The ARRL has a “Public Service Honor Roll.”

Each month in QST‘s Field Organization Reports column, the Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR) recognizes the efforts of Amateur Radio operators who are active in many aspects of public service. This includes net operations, traffic handling, emergency operations and public service communication support. There are chances that you’re already involved with some aspect of Amateur Radio that would apply to the Public Service Honor Roll (PSHR).

You can receive credit for things such as passing traffic, regular participation in nets, operating Emergency Communications and more.

You can find more information on what’s counted on the ARRL website and in this form.

In the Northern Florida Section, you can send your Public Service Honor Roll report to the Section Traffic Manager, Helen-WC4FSU via Radiogram.

Sample Public Service Honor Roll Report

ARRL Creates Emergency Communications Committee

From the July 22, 2021 ARRL letter:

At its just-concluded July 2021 meeting, the ARRL Board of Directors approved By-Law changes creating a third Standing Committee that joins the existing Administration and Finance Committee and Programs and Services Committee. The charter of the new Emergency Communications and Field Services Committee (EC-FSC) is to develop and recommend new or modified Board policy and programs for emergency communications through the Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) and National Traffic System™ (NTS™) entities.

The committee also will offer enhanced support for its Field Organization leadership volunteers, including Section Managers, and an increased focus on ARRL-Affiliated Clubs.

Further, the EC-FSC will provide guidance to the CEO in translating Board policy into prioritized tasking, funding, and staffing of programs, services, and training in support of amateur radio emergency communications, Field Organization volunteers, and recruitment and retention of new and existing members through assistance to Affiliated and Special Service Clubs.

The EC-FSC will have the additional responsibility of monitoring and assessing trends in emergency communications technology and participant skills worldwide, and for identifying “best practices” for voluntary emergency communications provided by ARES and NTS, coordinating and cooperating with other amateur radio national societies as appropriate.

Thanks to The ARES Letter

What We’re Doing


Working together, we’ll get it done!
Submitted by Arc Thames – W4CPD

Thankfully in Northwest Florida we have a great relationship among the various clubs and ARES teams within Escambia, Santa Rosa, and Okaloosa counties.  To help further that relationship, we held a meeting at one of the local parks in Santa Rosa County on Saturday July 24 to get together members for all the area clubs to discuss what we can do to better support our new hams as well as get the word out to our community that amateur radio is alive and well in the panhandle.  I provided lunch, as we know food always helps get hams together.  We had around 25 hams in attendance.

The consensus from observation, is that it seems as if we have the best attendance results to events and activities when we have events that aren’t specifically affiliated with any club or group directly.  Prime examples of this are the tailgaters Bob-W5CL have done, the Ham Hands on events, Winter Field Day etc.  Many of our club and ARES meetings in the area tend to draw 10-15 people most times, sometimes up to 20, but we know there are many more amateurs in the area.  The company I, W4CPD, work for had a slogan a while back that said “Working together, we’ll get it done” and I feel that holds so true to the amateur radio community.

After everyone had a chance to eat, we began discussing what we can do to help each other and our community.  I first introduced Bill-WY8O who had started talking about these topics just before COVID hit and shut down the area.  We began an open dicussion about some of the ideas that had been tossed around.

The resounding feedback was that it’s hard for people to know what’s going on all the time.  While each club or ARES group may have its own Facebook or Web page, there’s no central place to go to find out what’s going on in our area.  One of the decisions that was made by this group of people was to establish a single Facebook and Web page for the 3-county area that will have listings of all the local clubs, ARES teams, repeaters, nets, and events.  We will be accepting donations to purchase “giveaways” that we can always keep on us such as business cards or pens that list this consolidated Facebook & Web page so that no matter what club you’re from or where you might be when you’re talking to someone about amateur radio, they can find information on the 3 counties in one place.  Each club will still maintain their own online presence, but we will link to them and post their events and other information on this consolidated page, for those clubs that wish to.  With that, we have purchased and started building and the corresponding Facebook page.

We want to engage and follow up with newly licensed amateur radio operators.  We see many people get their license at our meetings and events but hear very few of them get on the air afterwards.  We are asking our area clubs to collect the names and email addresses of those that pass their technician test so that we, as a group, can follow up with them within a month after their license exam to see if they need any assistance getting on the air.  We also hope to have a pool of handhelds that we can give to those who might not be able to afford one.

The need for establishing a pool of elmers/subject matter experts was discussed.  We want to be able to connect amateurs with the right people when they have questions about a particular topic.  Additionally, Bob-W5CL, has a radio shop at the Pea Ridge Flea Market in Milton, FL and we plan to have someone there from 10A-1P central each Saturday to be available to help program radios, answer questions, or get someone to the right person who can answer their question.  Our elmers would also be available to present at our “ham hands on” events.

Time and time again when we are out in the public, whether it be for Field Day, Beaches/Parks on the Air, or other public operating events, we tend to draw a lot of attention and interest from the public.  We will be establishing a special events team that can setup at public places and be prepared to talk with anyone who has questions about getting started in Amateur Radio.  Our goal is to setup at as many festivals and fairs as we can to demonstrate our skills and what’s available to the public.  Each event we setup at will have brochures available from all the clubs so we can direct someone to the right group based on where they live.  Hal-WA5HC, has already reached out to the Pensacola Interstate Fair that is hosted at the end of October in Pensacola, FL and they have offered us free space in their venue to showcase amateur radio.

While we don’t yet have a strategy to address it, the last item we discussed was engaging with the youth in our community.  None of us are getting any younger and we need to train up the next generation and get them engaged.  We know digital modes are likely the answer to this and plan to ensure we have hotspots and digital radios available at any event we are at so we can demonstrate picking up a radio and talking around the world as well as Winlink for sending email and text messages.  There was talk of engaging with local schools as well and the need for those that have retired from their jobs to help in this area as many of us are still employed full time.

Many great ideas were tossed around, and many wonderful things are ahead for our area.  I’d like to thank everyone who came out and I’ll keep you, our readers, posted on our progress.  If you have any questions, please feel free to email [email protected] and one of our volunteers will get back with you!