Welcome to Handiham World!
Photo: Fukushima nuclear plant near Okuma, Japan before the earthquake and tsunami damage. View shows three cooling towers and one of the reactor buildings with ocean and docks to the right of the picture. Image courtesy Wikimedia Commons, from Wikipedia.
The unfolding tragedy in Japan is front and center in our minds this week. I talked with long-time Handiham volunteer Mark Booth, WA0PYN, earlier this week. He had already handled a couple pieces of health & welfare traffic on 20 meters. ARRL is keeping us up to date on its website, so there is no need to go into detail on events that are already being covered at ARRL.org. Rick Palm K1CE, edits the ARRL ARES E-Letter, which refers amateurs to the ARRL.org story "Japan Asks Radio Amateurs to Keep Frequencies Clear As Country Goes into Recovery Mode after Devastating Earthquake". Information about the operations of the JARL HQ station JA1RL and the list of frequencies are found in that ARRL story. We suggest checking ARRL.org periodically for updates.
Some of our members who check into the daily Handiham net have been asking about Shinji, JA7QHM. I have not heard from him and would appreciate any news if anyone else has contacted him recently. Shinji had regularly checked into the Handiham net, but usually in the summertime when Daylight Saving Time is in effect. This makes the timing a bit easier as he doesn't have to stay up so late. I called him on Skype this morning but there was no answer or voicemail message.
As long as I mentioned DST, I might as well remind everyone that the Handiham net stays true to local time. That means the difference between GMT and Minnesota time becomes 5 hours instead of 6. Since we are west of Greenwich about 1/4 of the way around the globe, GMT is always ahead of us. By the time the Handiham net is getting underway in the late morning in Minnesota, it is already late afternoon in Europe. You might think that it would be easier to stick to UTC, or "Coordinated Universal Time", which is the same as what us older guys refer to as "GMT". We tried that years ago, but the confusion about the net made the "tech support" just about impossible. We gave up on that and returned to keeping the net at local time, which means that it shifts one hour relative to UTC (GMT).
Since today is Wednesday, that means we also have the evening net to think about. We meet once again at 19:30 hours Minnesota time (7:30 PM), which is at 00:30 hours GMT, or just after midnight in Universal Time. If you are in Europe, that makes it slightly easier to check in because you don't have to stay up quite as late.
All of this reminds me that we are such a worldwide system, email remains the tried and true way to touch base for many of us. It's a great way to work around all of these time shifting issues. I'm not sure if all of you knew about it, but my son Will, KC0LJL, spent a semester studying in Japan last year and made many friends there. We also had quite a parade of Japanese exchange students though our home over the past year, so obviously we have an interest in keeping track of how they are doing. Facebook has been a great contact tool and, as ARRL points out, internet connectivity has remained good in most of Japan. We are considering a Handiham group under the wing of Courage Center's Facebook page. Although I prefer email to using Facebook for individual messages, I know that this new media is more and more in the news these days and sometimes general interest stories in ham radio might be better covered in a Facebook forum. ARRL is on Facebook, as are many ARRL and Handiham members. It's something to think about for sure!
Finally, the Japanese situation includes a nuclear reactor emergency. This is bound to create a new awareness of communications preparedness related to ARES training. Some time back, a local ARES group here trained with other emergency services personnel in a mock nuclear plant scenario. It will be interesting to see what new procedures might come about as we learn more from following the news and response to the Fukushima nuclear plant damage. Communications technology and procedures are always changing to meet new and different challenges.
ARRL members who wish to receive the ARRL ARES E-Letter may manage their mailing lists directly from the member section of ARRL.org.
Patrick Tice, WA0TDA
Handiham System Manager
ADA Changes in Effect
Revised regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) took effect yesterday, March 15, 2011, the Department of Justice announced. The revised rules are the department's first major revision of its guidance on accessibility in 20 years.
The regulations apply to the activities of more than 80,000 units of state and local government and more than seven million places of public accommodation, including stores, restaurants, shopping malls, libraries, museums, sporting arenas, movie theaters, doctors' and dentists' offices, hotels, jails and prisons, polling places, and emergency preparedness shelters. The rules were signed by Attorney General Eric Holder on July 23, 2010, and the official text was published in the Federal Register on September 15, 2010.