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Public Information Coordinator Newsletter
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AUGUST 4, 2022

(Illinois Section Public Information Coordinator)
Phone: 217-787-4923

      Thanks to those who responded to the Special Field Day
Wrap-Up ARRL Illinois Section PIO Network Newsletter issued
on July 27.
   Your comments, ideas and information about your club's
activities are always welcome, so keep those messages
     First, some quick addendum/corrections from the Field Day

   The 415 Amateur Radio Club PIO Sam Haldiman's call sign
next to the composite photo credit is KC9GPY, not KZX9ZY
And on the contact list for the club, N9WH is the Club's call
sign. So much for late night editing and proofing!
      Also, hats off to Lake County RACES PIO Paul Van Zuyle,
K6PVZ who though ailing, was able to get its Field Day listed
on the two largest Lake County newspaper calendars. "My
colleagues here have well-established relationships with
county staff and elected officials, so we did get those visits,
too," writes Van Zuyle, "but the most satisfying outcome for me
came from Dave Pritchard, W9QL, our GOTA station mentor
who got at least five under-18 youth on the air. " Nice work!
   August is turning out to be a busy month for some PIOs
(myself included) and with fall approaching, I'm sure we'll all
have more work to do as clubs get into the full meeting mode.
There are at least two events that provide some interesting
public relations approaches. I'll take them up in order of date.

   Next weekend, on Saturday, August 13, there's the four-club
sponsored West Central Ilinois Hamfest at the Macoupin
County Fair Grounds, an event that will soon approach a
decade as a joint activity. (The Macoupin County Amateur
Radio Club held its first hamfest in 1998. It became a multi-
club event in the early 2000s, planned and is now run by a
committee composed of representatives of the Macoupin,
Okaw Valley, Montgomery and Sangamon Valley clubs that
two years ago embraced participation of a Springfield radio-
controlled model airplane club. I've been doing the PR for this
event for several years.
PR TIP: Even though an event is in a community in one
county, having multiple co-sponsors allows you to extend your
promotion for it to the media in areas where the other
organizations and their members are located  Now add in a
cross-over hobby--like people who fly radio-controlled model
planes (for which they may need an amateur radio license to
use certain frequencies) or (as in the case of a previous WCI
hamfest, an amateur radio link to a non-radio project
(displaying a solar car built by students at the direction of their
teacher, a licensed ham)--and you suddenly have a  "family-
fun event" hook that's sure to catch an editor's eye, maybe
even a weekend television crew if they haven't a distance to
    And while we're on the subject of hamfests, I wanted to
make note of the Hamfesters Amateur Radio Club's W9AA
Hamfest coming up this Sunday, August 7 in the air-
conditioned Main Exhibition Hall at the Will County
Fairgrounds, 710 South West Street in Peotone. Admission is
$10 at the door, children under 12 free. [Gates open at 6 a.m.,
the main building at 8 a.m.].

   As you well know, hamfests are more than buying and selling
radio equipment and catching up with old friends. A good
program can be a draw and in this case, the Hamfesters have
a terrific topic: Distracted Driving Laws and Amateur Radio.

   Attendees will be able to learn more about state laws--not
only in Illinois, but in neighboring states, specifically Indiana,
Wisconsin, Iowa, and Michigan--that impact on mobile amateur
radio stations. The presentation, by Jim Hull, W9JGH and Ron
Delpiere-Smith, KD9IPO, from the Chicago Suburban Radio
Association, will also look at laws across the country and
provide pointers on what to do, what to say, and what to have
with you in the event you are pulled over for operating your
amateur radio while driving. Presentations start at 10 a.m.

PR TIP: Whether your club is putting on a Hamfest or
other event alone, or joining with nearby clubs, as the PIO
you need to get into the discussions early to see if there's
any unusual angle you could use to promote it. (Think
people, location, speaker, big prize, celebrity visit, etc.
that you can use in the headline on your press
release....or Family-Fun Event -- which I used for this
year's WCI event) -- or Family-Friendly). Catching an
editor's eye is half the battle).


   That's what members of the Moultrie Amateur Radio Club
will be doing on Saturday, August 20 with a manned display at
the popular Coles County Memorial Airport's  "Wings Over
Mattoon 2022," a public event  that draws huge crowds to the
air show, reports Club PIO Shane Ramos, KD9RDO. Clubs
often overlook opportunities to be represented at community
events and/or do not have the materials to display, a sign-up
sheet or giveaways. It won't be the case for Moultrie which has
been gearing up for this event and started well in advance in
thinking how it can draw visitors to its display (including in this
case being a source of ice-cold bottled water on what is likely
to be a hot summer's day)! There's free parking and free
admission to the site at 432 Airport Road in Mattoon. Gates
open at 11 a.m. Stop by and say hello! (Rain date is Sunday,
August 21).

PR TIP: As I suggested last month, PIOs should always have
a handy supply of give-aways (like back issues of QST that
members are willing to donate), brochures and general
information handouts about your club for the taking both at
meeting sites and external events. What coming events are
there in your community (like science and STEM fairs, PTAs
and civic group meetings, newcomer's clubs, AARP
gatherings, shopping malls, business groups, municipal
facilities) where your club might want to have a display,
preferably manned (so that someone's there to answer
questions)? And is your traveling set-up attractive?  Do you
have a club banner or table cloth? A club seal or sign that can
go on a wall behind you? Club shirts? A sign-up sheet? (And
for the PIO and officers, business cards)?

  Last but certainly not least, I want to share with you the
existence of a brochure, A Parent's Guide to Amateur Radio
written and copyrighted by Dan Romanchik, KB6NU, that I've
found valuable and think you will too...provided he gives me
permission to distribute it to you for your club's use. [I'm
working on that].

  Dan is Communications Manager for ARRL's Amateur Radio
Digital Communications Committee that administers the sport
of Amateur Radio Direction Finding in the United States for
sanctioned events and International Amateur Radio Direction
Finding competitions. You may know the fast-growing sport by
its more current branding,  "Orienteering," a term that's
become so popular that in June, ARRL unit officially changed
the unit's name to "ARRL Amateur Radio Orienteering."

  But if you haven't heard much about it here in the mid-west,
there's reason. In the United States, most of the activity has
been in the West and in a handful of Eastern states that have
rugged terrains. The most competitive events are held in
Europe and Asia.

   The sport involves taking a map, a compass, and a direction-
finding radio into the woods in a timed foot race. Competitors
track down transmitting radio stations stashed among the trees
as quickly as they can. The competitor finding the most
transmitters in the least amount of time wins. There are
categories for men and women of all ages, and youth too. A
ham license is not required to participate (but it helps to be in
good shape). You can read more about it on the ARRL

There have been some efforts in the past and at least one
current attempt to engage amateur radio operators and clubs
in radio orienteering events here in Illinois and elsewhere in
the midwest but it's still a work in progress.

Romanchik, who got his first amateur radio license at the age
of 16, is broad ranging in his interests in radio. Author of the
“No Nonsense” amateur radio license study guides, he has
served as an  Assistant Section Manager for Training for the
ARRL Michigan Section Training Manager and over  the years,
he helped thousands get their first amateur radio license or
upgrade their licenses. You can catch his blog at kb6nu,com.
PR TIP: And when you do, be sure to read the piece on "ARRL
Should Rethink the Gil Mug" that he described to me when we
chatted by phone last month. There's an important public
relations lesson to be gained from it and it serves to
underscore the need of all of us to be conscious of the
communities we serve as we try to recruit as members and
supporters of amateur radio.

REMINDER: if you haven't done so as yet, send me a
detailed list of the media in your area and keep it current.
I hope to be able to provide a detailed state list to any
club PIO needing to promote an event beyond their usual
coverage area...but your cooperation is needed to make
that possible.


We're continuing to grow thanks to our Section Manager Thom
Beebe's push to get all ARRL-affiliated clubs to realize the
importance (and national requirement) that they have a Public
Information Officer in their ranks. This newsletter is also
distributed to select ARRL counterparts outside Illinois and to
the ARRL Illinois Section Cabinet.

Our ability to spread information about amateur radio is vital to
the future of our hobby and our ability to exchange and share
our know-how, ideas and more will help all of us as PIOs and
our clubs, grow.

Need to reach me? Here's the info:

Illinois Section
Public Information Coordinator
Phone: 217-787-4923