For those who are not yet signed up for the NTS-OPS Yahoo group (and all traffic handlers are invited to do so) the following was received from the Eastern Area NTS Staff Chair W3JY. It appears NTS is regaining its relevance and respect in the Amateur Radio world thanks to the great efforts of the three area staff chairs and others. Let’s show them how much we support their efforts by our particpation and diligence in net participation and handling of message traffic. If anyone would like information on joining the above Yahoo group, contact Marcia firstname.lastname@example.org or Joe email@example.com.
“My apologies for the lateness of this update – it’s been a very hectic few weeks in EPA, what with preparation for the arrival of a Pope Francis and Joaquin, not to mention the start of another Cub Scouting year in a family with two Cub Scouts! We’re glad Joaquin stood us up!
Having said that, I want to relate the gist of recent developments regarding NTS and ARRL’s board of directors. The call took place while I was on the road, and while I found a convenient parking spot I had no way to make a written record of the details. Please forgive any errors of omission or degree and understand the important thing is this: essential concord is achieved.
Last week, I had a long but productive phone call with the ARRL’s Programs and Services Committee chairperson Brian Mileshosky N5ZGT, director from the Rocky Mt division. Relatively new to his current job, he didn’t know very much about the history of NTS and its relationship with HQ over the last number of years. I imagine some of the details communicated to him were unexpected but illuminating, especially how the loss of the Forward and Introduction to the Public Service Communications handbook left NTS without an official mission statement.
Brian reaffirmed NTS is a core program of the ARRL. He made an emphatic point NTS is of direct interest to the Board of Directors by way of his committee. He wanted to find a way to achieve reconciliation if possible.
To that end, NTS once again will be represented at the ARRL Board with a short but formal presentation to the P&SC at its semi-annual meetings in Newington. We both acknowledged the tireless work done on NTS’ behalf by the irreplaceable Steve Ewald. After talking a bit about the work NTS has done with our digital systems, the NCERT Concept, operator training, and European expansion, Brian agreed ARRL leadership has been remiss in reaching out to NTS Area Staff at all levels. He said he and his committee will make every effort to meet Staff leaders personally in the coming months. (Given budget and finance realities, I should mention these meetings certainly would be by electronic means.)
FEMA’s interest in NTS also was discussed, and since NTS is not specifically mentioned in any documentation describing the ARRL-FEMA relationship except by inference, we both agreed to be sure to tip off and consult HQ staff as a professional courtesy, while retaining NTS’s traditional self-governance. We hope the interest shown by FEMA’s Disaster Emergency Communications Division will grow into a model of citizen-cooperation.
These are very welcome developments, indeed. NTS has always wanted to regain our place at the ARRL table and now we are there.
In the immediate future, we have much internal marketing to undertake, to tell our own colleagues about our professional management, the universal applicability of the proven radiogram format, how our “RF Only” digital system spans the U.S. and Europe and how FEMA prizes our not-so-old-fashioned phone and cw nets for their absolute reliability in a catastrophic “grid down” scenario.
President Dave Sumner invited NTS to submit an article to QST and work on that is underway as we speak. Jim Wades and Kate Hutton’s excellent QNI newsletter has also been recognized as a valuable source of information on the NTS and traffic handling in general.
NTS has much to be proud about and now we have the opportunity to reintegrate ourselves into the larger ARRL community. I personally look forward to the day when NTS activity is, as it once was, the sine qua non of membership in our American Radio Relay League.
If you have questions, please send them to me via return email at firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.
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VY 73 DE W3JY