Excerpts from the previous Scuttlebutt issue.
A Harvest of Thoughts
FINALLY - fall is here and that blow torch heat of the summer of 2012 is passed. Has not been a pleasant time on the coast of North Carolina and for many parts of the USA. We can now finally look forward to fall cruising - for those not heading south for the winter -- you lucky devils to those who will be cruising south.
This has been a tough summer in more ways than just the weather. We had 2 fine members become Silent Keys in the last quarter -- Vic Poor W5SMM and Al Bell W4IKV. They will be sorely missed.
We have an election coming up. I'm not referring to the Presidential but one closer to home - Officers of the Waterway Radio and Cruising Club. This will be a BIG year for the club. It will be our 50th anniversary. The last couple of years we have not really had an election in that all the officers' positions were filled unopposed. Let us change that this year. Let's see if we can get a couple of nominations for each officer position and have a real election again. The nominations open October 1st and run till October 31st. The nominations should be sent to Jeanie, N4WFM, our club's secretary.
Just be sure that you talk with the person you want to nominate and be sure that they really want the job. It is a fine job. Not too demanding and you get to work with a great group of volunteers that really make this club work. Think of it as you can take the credit and others do the work. Hey that is the way real politicians work!! I had to get a dig in there somewhere. For those of you heading south this year it sounds like there are several troublesome spots along the AICW. Checkout the "Salty Southeast Cruisers' Net" for the latest -- http://cruisersnet.net. They have eyewitness reports from Captains traversing these areas.
Another resource that few have taken advantage of is the enhanced weather forecasts provided by NOAA. Back in March NOAA rolled out new products for the Southwest North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico. They divided these areas into much smaller zones which are too numerous for us to cover during the regular forecast but any of the weather reporters can pull up the details on any of these zones. If you are travelling through one of these zones or will be travelling through one then please ask for the zone or zones of interest at the end of the weather report and when we ask for "additional weather or fills". See the article done by Craig Turner in the Spring Scuttlebutt. In addition print a copy of the region maps so you can ask for a specific zone by name - it makes the job easier on the weather reporter. Here is a link to the new zones of the South west North Atlantic and the Gulf of Mexico: http://www.nws.noaa.gov/om/marine/zone/wrdoffmz.htm
We actually have a "Store" again where members can order personalized and Club insignia branded (actually Embroidered) clothing and other articles. It's a small company called ZigZag Threads and we have a link to them on the main page of the club Web Site or you can go there from here:http://www.zigzagthreads.com/featured/this-is-a-nice-post
If there is anything we can do as a club to make cruising and communications more enjoyable or safer please drop me a line and I'll see what I can do.
Enjoy your fall cruises and especially enjoy your trips south for the winter. May your cruises be ever safe and enjoyable.Earl J Quick, WD0ETL Commodore
Good Morning from the messy desk of the Fleet Captain. Just a quick note on the how and why we do things the way we do. When the Duty Fleet Captain takes over the net at 0815, and he does "take over the net", as the de facto Net Control station while Position reports are being taken, the first thing we do is look for any stations afloat that have filed a Float Plan. Float Plans are serious things to us. According to our net guide, they have to be filed ahead of time, with the Fleet Captain, with certain information listed.
FLOAT PLAN INFORMATION
Note that we ask for a contact name and number. That is part of the reason that we look for you, should you be on a Float Plan, first thing before anyone else. You have asked us to "follow" you along your journey. (It is very similar to filing a Flight Plan with the Air Traffic Control folks. Fail to answer up with them and they get very upset)
We prefer that you file your Float Plan ahead of time via email to the Fleet Captain, either at FleetCaptain@waterwayradio.net or my personal email, email@example.com. (We will take Float Plan filings, during the Traffic portion of the net; just take us off freq in time to do it) I will pass the information along to the Duty Fleet Captains, so they and their relay stations can look for you first thing when they take over at 0815. Should we not get in touch with you during our time, or any time during the net, we will be on the horn to your point of contact to see if for some reason you have been delayed in route, etc. As per our Net Guide, we WILL contact your POC, and failing that the USCG if you fail to check in for 24 hrs. (Remember I said we take this serious?)
Now, Position Reports.
We will always call for Boats that are Underway or short of time first. We've all been busy trying to get underway, or only had the single HAM aboard, and know how crazy it can be at times when you are underway, that's why we give you first shot (if you need to file early, before the net, just ask on freq, there is always one of us around to get it for you). When it is your turn (most of us treat you like DX stations, taking a list, then working you) please give your Position or your from and to if you are going to be moving that day, please take pity on the ones of us that can't spell (ME!) and have those exotic names ready to spell out if we need it, using phonetics if possible. If giving your position in Lat/Long, please use Degrees and Min only. If you are off shore, we would like your current conditions wind and seas, as well so we can pass that onto NOAA.
I know I enjoy meeting all of you on the air, and those of you that I finally got a chance to meet at the Picnic it was a true pleasure. I look forward to handling your Position reports and Float Plans in the future.
I don't know the origin of the use of "Elmer" as the pseudonym for mentor. Nor do I know how men (and women) with such different vocational, social, political, and philanthropic interests can come together in their hobby of ham radio with a zeal to share knowledge and support for the novice. Having the common interest of boating is clearly another link that is built upon. I am guessing that most of us have enjoyed the benefit of such helping hands.
That spirit is essential, or at least, it has been essential for me. I came to ham radio after thinking about it for about sixty years. When I was a paperboy, a ham was one of my customers. I still remember his call sign: W4KBS (sk). He introduced me to the wonders of hearing the crackly voices of people hundreds or thousands of miles away coming from the speakers in his shack. Great grey cabinets full of glowing tubes and lots of meters and knobs and buttons and switches were an irresistible magnet for a thirteen year old.
By high school, I and a friend had "liberated" an old Navy transmitter from a dump on NAS Norfolk. We did not know a thing about electronics, dc circuits, or much of anything else. But we hoped to coax it into life and even staged some (unsuccessful) experiments.
In college, still harboring an interest in amateur radio, I had a couple of classmates who were hams and let me into the engineering school radio station and the AFROTC Mars station. Though the niceties of the law were overlooked, I did learn a few things and actually had my code speed up to about ten or eleven words per minute.
Fast forward forty years and the long dormant interest once again emerged and I purchased a Kenwood TS 140 S transceiver and antenna (a vertical whose manufacturer I have forgotten) which I intended for SWL and then, hopefully as the core of my shack. It was tempting to operate it without the ticket; but I did not. Neither did I go ahead and dig in and do the preparation for the tests.
Sailing in the 1980's found us in Marathon at Boot Key Marina. One of the many great fellow cruising couples there lived aboard a beautiful Wellington (I think) ketch, and had a ham station aboard. Ross and Vava Brown were (still are) members of WRCC, though I did not know it at the time. Ross was patient and encouraging with my interest in ham radio, but once again I lapsed into procrastination.
By 2005 and the passage of significant life events, I found myself having a new partner, having sold house, car, and many belongings and living in the basement apartment of a friend in Atlanta waiting through the construction of a Motorsailer which was to be our new home. Finally, the moment had come. I was determined to have the license for SSB operations both for safety and for recreation and communications with friends and family. After a month on code and a month on theory and taking trial tests on line four or five times a day, I was ready for the long delayed visit to a test session.
I passed, barely, but I passed. Once again, a hand from a new friend who was the president of the Georgia Tech radio club took me under his wing and introduced me to the club station. My first shaky attempts to operate could be an apt illustration for the term "amateur radio".
Cruising allowed me to lift my level of competence and widen my scope of operations, but the marine SSB transceiver aboard the boat was somewhat limited. We did engage in digital operation through Winlink, a great help when away from Wi-Fi and other shore based amenities.
Most recently, Wilmington club (Azalea Coast Amateur Radio Club) membership has once again come to my rescue as I have struggled to get on the air with my ancient TS 140 S). The willing loan of equipment, time and patience at the house, and more time outside getting an antenna in place, plus numerous telephone and e-mail briefings inched me toward on air capability. I am embarrassed, but thankful, to admit yet another instance of a fellow ham getting me back on track. For four months I operated blissfully unaware that my use of the antenna tuner was completely wrong. The light finally dawned and I reached out to a friend and fellow WRCC member, Terry Palmer(K1LCH) in Tampa and, via an extended video Skype call, my education was expanded - and low and behold I am getting about 100 watts to the antenna instead of 10 watts!
So, thank you for all the assistance. It is a great tradition that may distinguish us a bit from some other hobbies, and when combined with our commitment to public service, may distinguish hams as unique.
A number of my nonmedical friends have had friends or near relatives suffer neurologic strokes recently. As a consequence these folks have taken an interest in the "first aid" for detecting strokes in the early minutes of the attack, and perhaps helping such loved ones to have a less severe attack. This is in line with what many fire rescue departments around the country are doing, namely establishing networks of stroke response hospitals in their local communities.
In the not too distant past forward looking communities have established "heart attack networks" by doing several things. One is to groom hospitals to be "heart attack" hospitals where patients in the first few hours of a coronary attack can be taken and receive early intervention by knowledgeable doctors and have the severity of the attack lessened or reversed altogether. Still another is to educate the local paramedics to better recognize heart attacks and transport the victims to the appropriate hospital. Still another is to educate the public (that's you and me) to recognize the attack and make prompt contact with their local emergency car system. (Dial 911). Time is of the essence. Failure to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack or a brain stroke early in the attack often makes of a much poorer outcome
The success of the "heart attack networks" has now led to efforts across the country to establish local "acute stroke care networks" Such is taking place presently in the Greater Miami Area, and in a few other communities in the U.S.A. I'll focus this discussion on how you might recognize the early moments of a brain stroke in a person near to you. In so doing you may well assist them is gaining access to acute interventional care and reverse the stroke or at least give them a chance for a better outcome. The brain may possibly be restored if the attack is less than 3 hours (or possibly a bit more) old. That's not much time but please try.
I'll start with a couple of definitions. The most common brain stroke is a sudden loss of circulating blood to a portion of the brain; in this case a brain artery is clogged, not a heart artery. It usually produces no pain but does cause a weakening effect on that part of the body served by that blood starved section of brain. If it is an area that controls an arm or leg (or both) the arm and/or the leg gets weak, sometimes to the point of uselessness. If the speech area of the brain is affected the victim's ability to speak deteriorates. If the vision area of the brain is injured then often half of the visual field is lost, etc.
The less common stroke is a hemorrhagic stroke, (a bleeding into the brain). These are painful, often really painful! So if there is a loss of brain function and a severe headache you have a major threat to life. Let's get back to how to detect the painless ones.
The following guide lines may very well help you detect the early moments of a stroke in a person near to you. Google them for more details.
The formal name is "Cincinnati Prehospital Stroke Scale"
Here they are:
It tests three signs for abnormal findings which may indicate that the patient is having a stroke. If any one of the three tests shows abnormal findings, the patient may be having a stroke and should be transported to a hospital as soon as possible.
Facial droop: Have the person smile or show his or her teeth. If one side doesn't move as well as the other, so it seems to droop, that could be sign of a stroke.
Arm drift: Have the person close his or her eyes and hold his or her arms straight out in front for about 10 seconds. If one arm does not move, or one arm winds up drifting down more than the other, that could be a sign of a stroke.
Speech: Have the person say, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," or some other simple, familiar saying. If the person slurs the words, gets some words wrong, or is unable to speak, that could be sign of stroke.
Patients with 1 of these 3 findings as a new event have a 72% probability of an ischemic stroke. If all 3 findings are present the probability of an acute stroke is more than 85%.
Don't worry if you misdiagnose. The emergency room doctor should gladly clarify the situation for you. Do Google the Cincinnati Criteria and contact me if you need more details.Jim C. Hirschman MD, K4TCV, Fleet Surgeon
WRCC MEMBERSHIP DRIVE 2012
Come one, come all it's time to have a club membership drive.
An award for doing pleasant work too -- just talking... We would like to see the club grow. The way to do that is to have the current members promote what we do and what the new members will gain when they join.
You can also print one of the clubs recruitment posters from our web sites home page and display it in your Marina or Yacht Club. Note your contact info on the poster so interested persons can contact you. Be sure to direct interested persons to our web page for more info. Please talk to your Ham friends and to previous members and try to get them to join or rejoin the club.
On this membership drive we will award those members who bring in 3 or more new members and/or persuade old members that have not been members in the last 6 months to rejoin. The award will be one of the clubs heavy duty burgees. The drive will be 6 months long beginning January 1, 2012 and ending June 30th 2012. Members who have earned their award will be announced in the Summer Scuttlebutt and receive their award later in July 2012.
Be sure to tell your prospective member to note on the application that they were referred by you. You can also drop an email to the firstname.lastname@example.org noting the call sign of the recruit you referred.
Membership Applications can be downloaded from the 'Club Info' page and printed.
Earl J Quick - WD0ETL
On July 9, Victor (Vic) Poor, W5SMM, of Melbourne, Florida, was awarded the ARRL President's Award at the Platinum Coast Amateur Radio Society's (PCARS) monthly meeting that was attended by nearly 100 hams and non-hams, many from out of town. There have been only a handful of recipients of this prestigious award.
Poor -- an ARRL member -- developed an active interest in ham radio while still in high school and became W6JSO in 1951. He has also held the calls AH6AXV and K3NIO. He quickly developed an affinity for RTTY and later other digital modes of interest in Amateur Radio.
Victor Poor, W5SMM, holding the ARRL President's Award and a hardbound copy of The ARRL Handbook signed by the ARRL staff. The award was presented recently by Eric Smitt, K9ES.
Poor has been instrumental in the development of many hardware and software innovations that are at the heart of modern day computing and communications technology, used both in Amateur Radio and in industry.
His early RTTY work focused on improving the designs of modulators, demodulators, and filters to improve the error rates achievable with RTTY in those days. This work continued into the development for schemes for simple message networking for amateur traffic before the availability of affordable PCs.
During the '70s and '80s, new digital technologies, including packet, AMTOR and lower-cost computers became available. These advances motivated Poor to further improve digital transmission networking techniques. This included APLINK, a robust automatic global store-and-forward system that led the ARRL to include the system for use in their National Traffic System (NTS).
With the advent of widely available Internet service and continued improvements in signal processing using PCs and dedicated signal processing chips, including PACTOR and WINMOR, in 1999 Poor organized a volunteer amateur development team to replace APLINK with a much more advanced amateur message forwarding system that integrates with the Internet and other mail systems, handles multiple destination addresses, and accepts data files of any format. The system is named Winlink 2000 (WL2K) and is maintained and managed by the Winlink Development Team (WDT). Poor remains the principal architect of the system. This system has blossomed today to a major amateur-supported emergency communications network used by ARES and many government agencies including MARS, federal, state, county and city agencies, and NGOs.
In his professional career Poor has been instrumental in the development of many products that we take for granted today. He credits his interest in ham radio as the driving force behind his success in the commercial arena.
The ARRL Board of Directors voted to create the President's Award in 2003. It is awarded to an ARRL member or members who "have shown long-term dedication to the goals and objectives of ARRL and Amateur Radio" and who have gone the extra mile to support individual League programs and goals. Nominations for the award come from ARRL directors and are approved by the ARRL President and the Executive Committee.
President Kay Craigie's accompanying letter stated, in part: "It is my pleasure and honor to confer upon you the ARRL President's Award....Your contributions to the development of digital communications systems in the Amateur Radio Service have significantly enhanced the ability of our radio service to provide assistance during disasters. Many other amateurs active in emergency communications attribute their own accomplishments to your mentoring....
"As a result of your long, distinguished career in Amateur Radio and communications technology, you have more than earned the appreciation that is represented by this award from the American Radio Relay League."
Steve Waterman, K4CJX, Assistant Director of the ARRL's Delta Division, summed up Poor's humility: "I could have added many more accomplishments to that list," said Steve. "The only thing Poor really wants to know about is if something doesn't work."
-- *Dan Fisher, AI4GK*
(Editor: Credits to:
The following members or their families have recently received cards or flowers from the Sunshine Fund.
Be sure to send any Get Well or Silent Key requests or notices to Debbie at sunshine @ waterwayradio.net
Debbie Lerner KD4GRR
On our recent voyage from Saint Lucie Inlet Florida to the Chesapeake Bay the AIS (Automatic Identification System) provided some surprises on the ocean. During the refit I installed a Class B AIS Transponder and VHF radio that talk to each other together. The transponder both transmits information about your own vessel and receives information from vessels that have a transponder.
During one of my night watches I observed a ship approaching from behind off my starboard which looked like it would cross very near behind me. I checked the information provided on my transponder and discovered the ship would cross rather close. Then the VHF crackled a message and was calling my vessel, Samana. I answered the ship that was calling me. He asked if it was OK to pass off my port and leave me about 1 ˝ miles off his starboard. Of course I answered that was OK! I was dumbstruck! A ship had called me and asked permission regarding passing me. What a surprise. On the other hand, the manual that contains the International Regulation for Prevention of Collisions at Sea states in Rule 13 "…any vessel overtaking any other shall keep out of the way of the vessel being overtaken." He did not see me on his radar but my transponder had provided my position, type of vessel (sail), heading, and speed, among other items. When vessels at sea share information the risk of collision is much less.
The second surprise occurred again on a night watch. Once again a ship was approaching from behind. I checked the transponder and again we were going to approach each rather close. This time I selected the ship behind me that was overtaking my vessel and pushed d the DSC (Digital Selective Calling) button. My VHF then placed a call to the ship via VHF Channel 70. It took several minutes before the ship answered my DSC call. I then asked his intentions and he stated he would alter course 3 degrees and leave me off is starboard side. The captain also thanked me for calling him!
I learned a very good lesson in the value of the Class B AIS Transponder during the six day ocean passage from Florida to the Chesapeake Bay. When sailing at night in low visibilities with rain when transiting shipping lanes the safety of vessels is immeasurably better. It seemed to me that the cost was just too much but I was also concerned about night sailing and being in shipping lanes for extended times. So I purchased a system and wondered how well it would work. I am now a believer of the safety value of having a transponder on board.
The hottest bad spot on the ICW this year is - not Hell Gate - not Jekyll Creek - not even Little Mud River. It's at Brown's Inlet, mile 236, markers 60 and 61A. The depth is less than 4 feet MLW between those markers. (Editor: The USCG moved the marks Sunday, October 1, 2012). I found out the hard way, an hour past low tide. (Remember, there are three kinds of sailors: those who have run aground, those who are about to run aground, and those who lie.)
We spent a week in Portsmouth, VA recently. For something different, check out the Commodore Theater, a few blocks walk from the waterfront. The Commodore is an historic, 1930's art-deco theater, nicely restored, furnished with tables for four where you can have drinks, appetizers or a full dinner before kicking back for a first-run movie.
Top Rack Marina, just north of Steel Bridge, promises the lowest fuel prices in Virginia. They also offer a free night's dockage if you have dinner in their restaurant, which is reported to be pricey but worth it. Centerville Marina, off the ICW in the same area, also has low fuel prices. It's reportedly a good stop if all you need is fuel and a night's sleep.
Our friends have been raving for years about Dowry Creek Marina near Belhaven, so we stopped for a night. The owner, Mary, is friendly and hospitable, the fuel prices are reasonable, and happy hour with hors d'oeuvres in the nicely appointed lounge is most enjoyable. The docks are old but sound. The marina is exposed to Pungo River to the south; wakes didn't bother us, but it would be rocky in a strong southerly wind.
The Great Recession has hit the backwaters of North Carolina hard. Belhaven is dead, the venerable River Forest Marina has closed down, and the wonderful marine supply store in Oriental is closed. Dudley's Marina in Swansboro appears to have fallen into disrepair; on the other hand, Casper's has enjoyed a face lift and appears to be the place to stop in Swansboro. While there, don't forget to visit Yanni's, the 1950's restaurant in historic downtown, still the best breakfast on the ICW if not the world.
I met Mark Doyle at an MTOA rendezvous. He and his wife Diana are publishing some very nice guides to the ICW. Their anchoring guides have color charts with depth-annotated tracks to help you into the tightest of gunkholes. Check them out at http://www.onthewaterchartguides.com .
Mark Doyle reports the Canaveral Barge Canal plans restricted openings October through March: 0600 - 0700 and 1800 - 2100 only on weekdays, unrestricted weekends.
Worry about dragging anchor while you sleep? There's a great tool for iPhone and Android. It's a free app from Active Captain called Drag Queen. It uses the GPS in your phone to sound an alarm if your boat changes position by more than a number of feet which you can set. I have not heard the alarm yet, and don't want to… but I've been told it WILL wake you up! Finally, a personal note: As this is written we're cruising south to our new home in Palm Coast, Florida, and we have no immediate plans to travel north. I will no longer make the annual migration, and for that reason would like someone who cruises the waterways actively to take over this column. Please volunteer to our esteemed Scuttlebutt editor. And remember, don't sail where the birds are walking!
Scuttlebutt is published quarterly to inform members about Waterway Net news, activities and items of interest. Email your material to the Editor for possible submission.
What to Send
Send Silent Key and obituary notices to our Sunshine Lady.
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