THE SPARK GAP A monthly publication of the Meridian Amateur Radio Club June 2001
MARC FIELD DAY 2001
When: June 23 and June 24
Bonita Lakes Pavilion #2
Field day setup will begin on the morning of June 23rd. Licensed Amateur Radio Operators in Lauderdale and surrounding counties or anyone wanting to learn more about this exciting and important means of emergency communication are invited.
Hams will set up and operate field radio stations to contact other hams throughout the US and Canada over a 24 hour period. If you are a newly licensed operator, be sure to make this event. You will see and have an opportunity to communicate on all modes of operation.
Hamburgers & Hot Dogs will be served at 4 PM on Saturday evening. Bring the family for fun and fellowship.
Message to Ron Brown from Emergency Coordinator in Attala County
It was nice to meet you in person the other day. I thought I would send you an e-mail about my accident the other day.
On Sunday May 27, 2001 Attala county had just been put under a severe thunderstorm warning. I had taken a report from WB4MYO, who was traveling I-55 around West MS about dime size hail and strong winds with a rotating wall cloud and relayed this to the EOC.
A few minutes later dime size hail started falling at my QTH. In a matter of minutes the hail had grown in size to half dollar. KD5JGW was reporting to me that he was receiving hail about the size of golf balls when my problems began. As I keyed the PTT to respond to him my tower took a direct hit by lightning. It came in the shack knocking me to the floor. I got up as quickly as I could checking on the family in other parts of the house finding everyone ok. I quickly checked the house for fire; finding none checked my equipment which was totally destroyed. I was taken to the emergency room and checked out and found to be ok. The only problem I have is ringing in my ears which the doctor said might last for a while.
We need to keep in mind as we operate SKYWARN and ARES of the dangers we can be exposed to. I have always been conscious of lightning and what it can do but have continued to operate during bad weather. I will continue to do what I can to help my fellow man but with a little more caution. I will attempt to rebuild my station with total emergency power as well as in the attic antennas.
Danny, KB5ZEA in Kosciusko
From the ARRL Letter Vol. 20
No. 19 Dated: May 11, 2001
Kid's Day is June 16
Kid's Day is just around the corner. On June 16, 1800 to 2400 UTC, kids of all ages are invited to experience ham radio. Amateurs are encouraged to invite youngsters into their shack to enjoy the fun.
Kid's Day began in 1994 with a one-hour program created by the Boring Amateur Radio Club in Boring, Oregon. The youngsters exchanged names and their favorite color. Forty kids participated. Last year, more than 1000 took part in the event, now sponsored by ARRL.
All participants can download a personalized certificate. There's no limit on operating time. The suggested exchange is name, age, location and favorite color. You are encouraged to work the same station again if an operator has changed. Call "CQ Kid's Day."
Kid's Day rules, frequencies and other information are on the ARRL Web site, http://www.arrl.org/FandES/ead/kd-rules.html and in the June issue of QST, p 48.
QSL card postage to jump a penny
It will cost another penny to mail a QSL card (sans envelope) after July 1. The US Postal Service has announced that it's raising the postcard rate by $0.01. First-class domestic postage in the US increased to 34 cents on January 7. The complete rate schedule is available on the USPS Web site, http://www.usps.com/.
Hurricane Awareness Week
(May 21 through 25 2001)
Hurricane season began June 1st.
As part of Hurricane Awareness Week, The Emergency Email Network is sending this message to all users who requested reception of information from the Emergency Email Network service.
Hurricane Awareness Week is an excellent time to:
1. Share the address of the Emergency Email Network web site, http://www.emergencyemail.org/ with coworkers and loved ones so that they too can take advantage of this important free public service.
An important part of your plan is identifying the information sources you will use to get timely, accurate information on storms and associated evacuation alerts. If you receive Emergency Email Network messages via your home computer, consider setting up your cell phone to receive Emergency Email Network alerts.
Remember that The Emergency Email Network forwards weather and emergency information directly to your pager, cell phone or computer email the instant it is released by official agencies. You receive the news at the same moment it's given to the local media. And if you have TEEN set up on a pager or cell phone, it's likely that you will continue to receive alerts even when the power is out at your home or office.
2. Review your personal foul weather preparedness plans. Every family and organization should have a formal plan which includes locating supplies and personal items you might need in a disaster situation, developing a check list to help you get your home or office ready for a storm and reviewing an evacuation route that can be readily available should you need to quickly leave your home.
Use hurricane preparedness week to review and update your personal emergency preparedness plan and count on The Emergency Email Network for accurate, timely information right when you need it.
Experts Issue Tropical Storm Alert
As many as 11 tropical storms - including five to seven hurricanes - could threaten the Atlantic and Gulf coasts this year, government forecasters said Monday.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicted what it called a normal hurricane season this year, but it warned that doesn't mean the danger is less.
"Don't focus on the numbers, you need to be prepared," Max Mayfield, director of the National Hurricane Center in Miami, said in an appearance on The Early Show on CBS.
"Have a plan, don't wait for the hurricane to come knocking on your door," he said.
"Although we expect an average level of activity this season, that is no cause to become complacent," said acting NOAA Administrator Scott Gudes. "Residents in hurricane-prone areas can't afford to let their guard down. Just one storm can dramatically change your life."
A normal Atlantic hurricane season typically brings eight to 11 tropical storms, of which five to seven reach hurricane strength, the forecasters said. Such a season can include two or three major storms.
Hurricane season for the Atlantic and Gulf coasts and Caribbean lasts from June 1 to Nov. 30.
A leading independent forecaster, William M. Gray of Colorado State University, has predicted 10 tropical storms, of which six will be hurricanes, two of them intense.
The "normal" forecast is based on the absence of such influences as the El Nino and La Nina phenomena, in which unusual warming or cooling of the tropical Pacific can affect the weather worldwide, officials said.
Without those influences, the key climatic factors guiding this year's expected activity are long-term patterns of tropical rainfall, air pressure and temperatures of the Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean Sea, said Jack Kelly, director of NOAA's National Weather Service.
"Forecasters will monitor these climate patterns, especially leading up to the August - October peak period of the season," Kelly said.
Mayfield stressed that hurricane-spawned disasters occur even in years with normal or below-normal levels of activity.
"If you go back and look in the history books you'll find that the deadliest hurricane the United States ever had, the Great Galveston Hurricane of 1900; the costliest hurricane ... Hurricane Andrew in '92, and the most intense hurricane, the Labor Day Hurricane in the Florida Keys in 1935, all those hurricanes occurred in years of below average numbers," Mayfield said.
"We don't want people to be caught off guard by a land-falling storm because the hurricane outlook calls for normal storm activity," Mayfield said.
The rapidly increasing population along the East and Gulf coasts means many more people live in harm's way when tropical storms threaten, and the vast majorities have never experienced such a storm.
"We do have a big challenge to convince the public of the dangers of hurricanes," Kelly told a recent conference on hurricane preparedness.
"We can change the impact of disasters. We, as a nation, can reduce the loss of life ... by taking effective action now," said Joe Allbaugh, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
It is the job of government, the private sector and all Americans to learn about the threats to their lives and homes and be prepared to take action if needed, he said.
Last year, there were 14 tropical storms, including eight hurricanes, but most stayed well offshore.
Despite improvements in recent years, predicting three days ahead where a hurricane will strike the coast is still subject to error by as much as 200 miles. That's half the error of 20 years ago, but it still poses serious problems for officials making decisions about evacuation.
That forecast improvement has led to one major change over recent decades.
No longer is storm surge slamming ashore the major killer. People are warned and, for the most part, evacuate from the area.
The leading hurricane killer now is inland flooding, in places where the storm's heavy rains raise water levels.
From 1970 to 1999, more than 600 Americans were killed in hurricanes and tropical storms. A study published by the American Meteorological Society found that 82 percent of those deaths were drownings and more than half were in inland counties and parishes. Storm surge accounted for only six fatalities.
That study, by hurricane forecaster Edward N. Rappaport, also found that early-season storms were often among the deadliest. He attributed that to weak steering winds early in the summer, causing the storms to move slowly, thus prolonging their potential to cause flooding.
Updated 7:37 AM ET May 21, 2001
By RANDOLPH E. SCHMID, Associated Press Writer
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