US House Passes the Amateur Radio Parity Act

ARRL DiamondOn September 12, 2016 by voice vote, the US House of Representatives suspended its rules and unanimously approved H.R. 1301, the Amateur Radio Parity Act, as amended.

H.R. 1301 now procceeds to the US Senate for consideration. Click here to read the full story.

To send a message to your members of the US Senate, click here.

To download a pdf copy of the Bill’s final form Click Here
 What will the Radio Parity Act Do?

The Amateur Radio Parity Act would not give Amateurs “carte blanche” to do whatever they wished.

Most importantly, it will ensure that every ham in the US, regardless of the community they live in, will have the opportunity to practice their avocation from their own homes without breaking any rules or fear of reprisal.

If enacted, amateurs who are living in deed-restricted communities would be guaranteed that there would be no preclusion of Amateur Radio communications by an HOA, that the Amateur would have the ability to construct an effective outdoor antenna on property under exclusive use of the licensee, and that the HOA must allow such facility using the least practicable restriction by the HOA to achieve their lawful purposes.

What are the Key Points of the Act as amended?

What did the original text of the Bill H.R. 1301 provide?

● It would have required FCC to enact rules to implement the “PRB-1” three-part test for municipal regulations affecting Amateur Radio communications to all types of private land use regulations, so that covenants and deed restrictions and HOA rules: (A) could not preclude Amateur Radio communications; (B) must make “reasonable accommodation” for Amateur Radio communications; and (C) must constitute the “minimum practicable restriction” in order to accomplish a legitimate purpose of the HOA seeking to enforce the rules.


Why didn’t the language of the original Bill preclude any HOA regulation of antennas completely?

● That could never have been achieved. Private land use regulations date back to the English common law and their use and enforceability in modern land use regulation is far too entrenched to have any reasonable chance of being exempted from them completely. Private land use regulations are included as restrictions applicable to parcels of land at the time that the buyer comes to the table. Neither Congress nor FCC would consider a complete preclusion of CC&Rs relative to Amateur antennas. The original bill language was not perfect but it was at the time the most that we could have hoped to achieve.


Why was it necessary to negotiate any changes to the Bills with the Community Associations Institute?

● There were two main reasons: first, in the Senate, Senator Nelson, the ranking minority member of the Senate Commerce Committee, stated his opposition to the Senate Bill as it read initially. His objection would have absolutely precluded the Bill from passing in the Senate, given the procedures for expedited handling of the Bill that were available to us. Unanimous vote in the Senate is required in order to pass bills that are not debated completely on the Senate Floor. Floor debate happens only with a very few bills of great importance, so the Parity Act would have to pass, if at all, by unanimous consent. Second, we were told that, although the House Bill was favorably reported from the House Telecommunications Subcommittee, it would not pass the House Energy and Commerce Committee unless there was agreement between ARRL and CAI. It is only because of the Substitute Amendment that the Bill was unanimously approved by the Energy and Commerce Committee.


What does the Substitute Amendment provide that is different from the original Bill language?

● The main difference is that the Substitute Amendment removes the “reasonable accommodation” obligation of HOAs and substitutes for it the absolute entitlement by every single radio Amateur living in a deed-restricted community to install and maintain on their property an “effective, outdoor antenna.” That is an extremely positive and helpful provision, now and in the future, because more than 22 percent of all Americans now live in deed-restricted communities. And 92 percent of new housing starts in the United States involve deed restrictions. Without this entitlement to install and maintain an effective outdoor antenna, deed restrictions will now and in the future be applicable to most hams in the United States. The language of deed restrictions either precludes outdoor antennas outright or else requires that any antennas be previously approved by an HOA, which, as of now, is typically never given. At the same time, the language of the Substitute Amendment preserves the existing PRB-1 language and all of the important case law with respect to municipal land use regulations that Amateurs have worked hard to establish for the past 30 years since PRB-1 was first issued.


What does the substitute amendment require exactly?

► FCC will enact rules that prohibit the application to Amateur Radio stations of deed restrictions which preclude Amateur Radio communications on their face or as applied.

► Also prohibited are those deed restrictions which do not permit an Amateur Radio operator living in a deed-restricted community to install and maintain an effective outdoor antenna on property under the exclusive use or control of the licensee.

► Also prohibited are deed restrictions which do not impose the minimum practicable restriction on Amateur communications to accomplish the lawful purposes of an HOA seeking to enforce the restriction.

►Amateurs who wish to install an antenna in a deed restricted community where there is an HOA must notify and obtain prior approval of the HOA. (This is no different than the requirement to apply for a building permit for an amateur antenna from a city, town or county).

► HOAs can preclude Amateur antennas in common areas (property not under the exclusive use of the licensee).

► HOAs can enact reasonable written rules governing height, location, size and aesthetic impact of, and installation requirements for, outdoor antennas and support structures for amateur communications. However, those rules cannot result in preclusion of Amateur communications and no such rule can restrict the absolute entitlement of each Amateur living in a deed-restricted community to an effective outdoor antenna.

►There are also very helpful factual findings in the amended Bill, such as a recitation of the strong Federal interest in Amateur Radio communications in residences of licensees. The factual findings are highly beneficial in terms of Federal policy that have never been in Federal legislation before.


Why should I have to apply for prior approval of an HOA before installing an antenna on my property?

● Because the HOA has a well-established interest in regulating aesthetics in a deed-restricted community just as a zoning authority has an interest in regulating safety and aesthetics throughout a municipality. You have to apply to the municipality and get a building permit for an antenna, and there is no logic that would have helped us justify language in the Bill that the HOA must give up the right to prior notice and approval of a ham radio antenna. If there is no HOA active, but you live in a deed-restricted community, obviously there is no one to notify or ask for approval. If your covenants do not make reference to antennas or structures and do not call for prior approval before installing a structure or building on the property, then obviously you don’t have to worry about the notification requirement. But if there is an HOA in your subdivision and if the deed restrictions call for prior approval or if they prohibit outdoor antennas, if our Bill passes you will have to notify the HOA and ask for approval for a particular antenna installation. After the notification and consent request is made, the HOA is obligated to not preclude Amateur Radio communications and it must allow you to install an effective outdoor antenna, and any restrictions must be the minimum to protect the aesthetic interest of the HOA. That is a more objective and favorable entitlement than is provided by the language of PRB-1.


What does “effective” mean and who gets to decide what “effective” means in my neighborhood?

● The word “effective” modifying “outdoor antenna” was chosen by ARRL as an appropriate and objective substitute for the more vague concept of “reasonable accommodation”. It is the ham who is best able to justify as a technical matter what constitutes an “effective” antenna on a given piece of property. It is impossible to delineate in legislation or even in FCC rules implementing legislation what type of antenna would be appropriate and suitable for installation on a given parcel of real property and what is effective for the ham involved, so it is up to the ham in each case to define for the HOA what would work effectively on that specific parcel.  “Effective” in a townhouse development is going to differ from what effective means on 5-acre or 10-acre lots sited at low elevations. It is always a case-by-case analysis, just as the less objective and less clear term “reasonable accommodation” was in the zoning context for many years.


Why was the entitlement to an “effective outdoor antenna” substituted for “reasonable accommodation?”  

● CAI was concerned that the case law in the zoning context applying PRB-1 and interpreting what constituted “reasonable accommodation” in zoning cases should not be carried over into the private land use regulation context.  ARRL agreed; we have 30 years of generally favorable case law applying “reasonable accommodation” in the zoning context. We can’t allow any of that case law to be subject to reinterpretation just because FCC is carrying the PRB-1 concept over from zoning to private land use regulation. There is a provision in the Substitute Amendment that requires FCC to not make any change in PRB-1 as it pertains to municipal land use regulations. The creation of a slightly different standard was necessary to differentiate the private land use regulation from PRB-1. ARRL views the “effective outdoor antenna” entitlement to be a stronger, and more objective standard that will be easier for radio Amateurs and HOAs to administer.


The Substitute Amendment allows  HOAs to enact rules governing antennas. Why do they get to set standards for height, dimensions, aesthetic impact and installation requirements?

● The HOAs already have all of that authority and a lot more. The rules they get to enact now have to be “reasonable” rules and they can’t result in the preclusion of Amateur communications or preclude an Amateur Radio licensee from installing and maintaining an effective outdoor antenna in exclusive use areas of their property. None of those conditions is an obligation on HOAs now. The Amateur Radio entitlements come only from this legislation.


 Who determines what HOA rules are “reasonable”?

● The HOA can enact its own rules pursuant to its normal processes as set forth in the deed restrictions, but if a ham finds them unreasonable relative to the obligation specified in the Bill to not preclude amateur communications and to permit an effective outdoor antenna, that becomes a matter of discussion with the HOA. In extreme cases it may result in litigation. These are not precise terms. They have to be as flexible as they are to account for different land use situations. Reasonable rules governing temporary installation of a mobile whip on a tripod on a 5th floor condo in a 10-story building in downtown Chicago will differ substantially from reasonable rules governing a permanent, guyed tower installation on a 5-acre lot in a subdivision in Pearland, Texas.  Overall, the obligation of HOAs in the Bill is to act reasonably in enacting rules that impact ham antennas. They don’t have that obligation now.


What took so long to get the language of the Substitute Amendment agreed to?

● Actually, ARRL announced that there was an agreement in principle with CAI on language for the substitute amendment as soon as we heard from our supporters on Capitol Hill that CAI had essentially agreed to ARRL’s final draft. That announcement was made publicly on ARRL’s web site when we first heard about it on May 28. We didn’t at that time have the final language from the House Office of Legislative Counsel (which puts all legislation in final form) until about June 2. So, we could not responsibly release the text of the Bill until we knew what it would say. We got the language and conferred with our legislative consultants on about June 3, and on June 7 we uploaded the text of the Bill to ARRL’s web site along with an in-depth article. We wanted ARRL members to know that we had achieved a very positive breakthrough on a very important and positive piece of legislation as soon as we could do so.


Did ARRL make compromises with CAI?

● No. There were no “compromises” made at all. In fact, the chair of ARRL’s Legislative Advocacy Committee and ARRL’s General Counsel characterize the Substitute Amendment, negotiated constantly over a three-month period as being far better for radio Amateurs than was the original Bill language. The PRB-1 test that we started with did not entitle every single radio amateur living in a deed restricted community to an effective outdoor antenna, notwithstanding anything in the language of the deed restrictions. It simply required “reasonable accommodation” which could have been argued to be an attic antenna or a mobile whip antenna good for operation on one band. The substitute amendment is far more favorable to Amateurs than was the PRB-1 standard.


Was the substitute amendment ARRL’s language or CAI’s lobbyist’s language?

● It was consensus language arrived at after numerous iterations with edits by both sides, but overall, the “effective outdoor antenna” entitlement and the “reasonableness” requirement for HOA rules affecting antennas originated with ARRL.


I have heard that the Substitute Amendment does not define the limits that HOA’s can impose on the installation of Amateur Radio antennas and support structures. How does that help hams living in deed-restricted communities?

              ● There are two main types of deed restrictions pertaining to antennas now: (1) those which permit no outdoor ham radio antennas, and (2) those which permit nothing at all without the approval of the HOA. Declarations of Covenants therefore do not, generally speaking, create standards which clarify when a ham radio antenna will or won’t be approved. In practical effect, the answer is always “no” anyway. Many thousands of hams have no choice but to live in these environments. For the first time in the history of ham radio in the United States, if this Bill passes, that all changes. From now on, in deed-restricted communities where there is no HOA, there is no approval requirement and no limit on antenna height, dimensions, etc. other than what the local municipal government might impose. Where there is an HOA, the HOA must not preclude Amateur Radio communications by any rules they might develop; the rules have to be reasonable; every amateur is entitled to an effective outdoor antenna; and no CC&R can impose more than the minimum practicable regulation necessary to accomplish the HOA’s goal. This is a huge win IF we can get the Bill through the House and the Senate this term. So to the extent possible in legislation regarding land use regulation (and this legislation is quite specific) the Substitute Amendment does define the limits an HOA can impose.


● ARRL has been working on a private land use regulation preemption policy and have tried to carry over PRB-1 from the zoning context so that it applies to all land use regulations, public and private, for at least 20 years. Never has anyone questioned the appropriateness of the effort. We have now a far, far better Bill than we have ever had before and we are close to having it implemented for the very first time.


What are the chances that this will pass?

● We don’t know. Now that the Bill has been successfully passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, we are hopeful that when the House reconvenes briefly in September that the Bill will be considered “on suspension” by a voice vote in the House, and that it will pass. It takes a 2/3rds vote in the House to pass on suspension. In the Senate, the Commerce Committee markup has occurred. If the House Bill passes, it will be sent over to the Senate and it will be considered by “unanimous consent”. We will need all ARRL members to urge their Senators to consent to the Bill at that time.

How can I help?

The ARRL has set up a web page  where you can send an email to your members of the US Senate asking them to support the Amateur Radio Parity Act.  Click here to visit this site.

If more than one person uses your computer and they also wish to send a letter of support make certain to unclick the “remember me” box on the page where you input your name and address.  You may also remove the “cookie” previously stored on your computer if you had already sent a letter.


US House to Act on Amateur Radio Parity Act Bill, H.R. 1301

ARRL DiamondThe US House of Representatives will consider the Amateur Radio Parity Act, H.R. 1301, under a suspension of the rules on Monday, September 12. A suspension of the rules is a legislative procedure used to quickly pass non-controversial bills.

Speaking at the New England Division Convention on September 10 in Massachusetts, ARRL CEO Tom Gallagher, NY2RF, expressed confidence that the bill would pass the House, but said the legislation would face additional hurdles in the US Senate.

In July, an amended version of the bill received a unanimous favorable report from members of the U.S. House Energy and Commerce Committee. Before reporting the bill out of committee, the panel first voted to accept the amended language “in the nature of a substitute.” Rep Greg Walden, W7EQI (R-OR), who chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Subcommittee on Communications and Technology, said the substitute bill represented “a good balance” following months of meetings, hard work, and compromise, and he recommended the measure to his colleagues.

“The amendment guarantees that even in deed-restricted communities, Amateur Radio operators are able to use an effective outdoor antenna,” Walden said. “Without an effective antenna Amateur Radio operators are severely limited, so this amendment ensures that amateurs are free to pursue their passion wherever they live.”

In June, the ARRL and the Community Associations Institute (CAI) — the national association of homeowners associations (HOAs) — announced that they had reached consensus on rhw substitute language for H.R. 1301 in an effort to move the bill through committee and to overcome objections to the companion US Senate bill,S. 1685.

For more information on H.R. 1301, visit the ARRL website.

ARES Exercise

ARES LogoI have been informed that an emergency exercise is being held September
12th through the 16th. Anyone who can help please contact our SEC Dale
Durham, W5WI @ Email: Cellphone: 830-719-9000.

Thank you

ARRL West Texas Section
Section Manager: Ron Harden Jr, KB5HGM

West Texas Section Manager’s Report August 2016

Ron Harden, KB5HGM
August is past. We are finally into September. This means Football, Fall rains, Football, the slow winding down of Hamfest season, Football, School starting up again, Football, Hurricane season on the Gulf Coast, and of coarse Football!

Speaking of Hamfests. The Lubbock ARC is having their annual Hamfest September 10, 2016. It will be held at the Noble Stidham Memorial Club House located at 1108 98th St in Lubbock. From 9am to 1pm. I’ve had the pleasure of attending the 2 previous years. This is a fun Hamfest! It is not a large one on the the scale of Dayton, but give them a couple of years and they will catch up. It is one of my favorites because of the Spirit of the LARC and I recommend you attend if at all possible. I’ll be there manning the ARRL table (between trips to the snack bar). Stop by and say Hello.

I have received a number of emails and calls about RM-11708. Seems to be a lot of talk about it. On the one hand the concern is encroachment on to much of the CW portion of the bands. On the other hand the concern is that U.S. Hams are the only ones in the world with baud rate limitations. I have done some research and made a few phone calls to the technical Gurus at ARRL HQ (Which by the way is something ANY member can do) and have come up with some interesting information. It is WAY too long to put in this newsletter, so I have posted it on my website at
I have opened the page up for moderated comments. Please keep it civil. Uncivil comments will be
deleted. Tell me what you think.

Jamboree-on-the-Air is coming up. If you are helping a troop and need help with material you can call the league or email me at JOTA will be held the third weekend in October. THIS IS A CHANGE FROM PREVIOUS YEARS. There is no set time for the start or end. Since it isn’t a contest, there’s no designating starting point. When your station is ready to go, get on the air and make contacts. You have the whole weekend! FMI see the JOTA page on the ARRL website.ff

That’s all I have for now.

Thank you for your service.

West Texas Section Manager


Tropical Storm Hermine Gains Attention on the Eastern Seaboard, Hurricane Watch Net Secures

Hurricane watch net[UPDATED: 2016-09-03 @ 16:41 UTC] Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) and weather-spotting volunteers remain ready if needed, as Tropical storm Hermine continues to make its way up the US Eastern Seaboard. Some strengthening is forecast after the center moves offshore, and Hermine could be at near-hurricane intensity by September 4. A category 1 hurricane when it came ashore along Florida’s northern Gulf Coast, Hermine was downgraded to a tropical storm at 0842 UTC. The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), which activated to gather ground-level reports on the storm as it approached landfall, now has secured after 19 hours of continuous on-air coverage. The net now is at Alert Level 2 — monitoring mode.

“[M]embers of the Hurricane Watch Net, operating under tough band conditions on 20 and 40 meters — mainly caused by a geomagnetic storm — transmitted advisories on Hermine to the affected area and received numerous weather reports — observed and measured,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “Those reports were then forwarded to the National Hurricane Center by way of WX4NHC.”

Farther up the coast, the ARRL New York City-Long Island Section has been alerted to a Tropical Storm Watch.” We are in a monitoring mode at this time,” ARRL N-LI SEC Jim Mezey, W2KFV, said on Friday. “All Districts have been asked to check their equipment and their availability.”

Connecticut ARES also has gone on a Level 1 alert. “There is a lot of uncertainty in the forecast as to the impacts this storm is likely to have on our area, but we should be prepared for whatever it brings,” Connecticut SEC Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV, said. “Please maintain good situational awareness as this storm moves up the coast by watching/listening to your preferred weather forecast sources.” Gronlund advised Connecticut ARES members to be ready to assist by ensuring that radio batteries are charged, vehicles and generators are fueled.

“Now is the time to make preparations to keep your family safe should you be asked to deploy,” he said. “Remember, you should not deploy without direction from the appropriate ARES or local official.”

According to FEMA at 12:30 UTC, mandatory evacuations were ordered in Florida for five Big Bend counties, and voluntary evacuations in three others. Upward of 300,000 customers were reported without power, and Amtrak suspended rail service on Thursday in the US Southeast.

As of 1500 UTC on September 3, Hermine was about 35 miles east-southeast of Duck, North Carolina, and some 80 miles southeast of Norfolk, Virginia, with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH. The storm is moving to the east-northeast at 15 MPH.

Tropical storm-force winds extend outward for up to 185 miles, and tropical storm warnings and watches are in effect along the East Coast. The storm resulted in evacuations and flood damage, and a dozen or so structures were damaged due to possible tornado activity. There have been reports of downed trees and power lines throughout the affect areas. The NWS said interests along the US northeast coast should monitor the progress of the storm, which could generate significant rainfall and the potential for flooding.

Graves noted that the last major hurricane to strike the US was Hurricane Wilma in 2005. He thanked daily users of the net’s frequencies —14.325 and 7.268 MHz — for their cooperation in keeping a clear frequency.

“The Hurricane Watch Net will be prepared for the next hurricane to threaten land in the Atlantic Basin,” he added.

FCC Proposes Substantial Fine for Unlicensed Amateur Operation, False Police Call

FCC Logo

[UPDATED 2016-09-01 @ 1652 UTC] A New York City man faces a fine of $23,000 for operating on Amateur Radio frequencies without a license and for transmitting a false officer-in-distress call on a New York City Police Department (NYPD) radio channel. The FCC issued a Notice of Apparent Liability for Forfeiture (NAL) on August 31 to Daniel Delise of Astoria. It details a history of complaints and alleged illegal radio operation on Delise’s part that dates back to 2012.

“The Commission previously warned Mr Delise that unlicensed operation of this station was illegal and that continued operation could result in further enforcement action,” the FCC said in the NAL. “Mr Delise’s deliberate disregard of the [Communications] Act and the Commission’s warning warrants a significant penalty.”

ARRL Hudson Division Director Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, credited the intervention earlier this year of New York Rep Peter King with getting the case “off the back burner and up to the front of the line.” Lisenco and ARRL General Counsel Chris Imlay, W3KD, met with the Republican congressman in January to discuss ongoing interference issues in the Greater New York City/Long Island area. King subsequently wrote FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler to urge “timely and visible enforcement.”

Lisenco also praised the direct involvement of FCC Enforcement Bureau Region 1 Director David C. Dombrowski “and his willingness to work with us and to use information we provided as potential leads,” as well as “a system of grass-roots reporting that depicted the current pattern of intentional interference with legitimate amateur communications on local repeaters,” coordinated by Richie Cetron, K2KNB, an Official Observer and Assistant Hudson Division Director. Lisenco said FCC Special Counsel Laura Smith “has been a great help in keeping us informed and in the loop.”

The FCC reported receiving “numerous complaints” that Delise was transmitting on different frequencies, issuing two official warnings in 2012. The Commission said complaints about Delise continued through 2013 and 2014, but, the FCC said, an investigating agent “was not able to confirm a rule violation.” Still more complaints alleged that Delise was transmitting without authority on 461.225 MHz, a frequency licensed to NYC City Wide Disaster Services, the FCC recounted. In 2014, the FCC received 10 more complaints identifying Delise by name, plus another nine in 2015 and one more in 2016.

Last April, field agents monitoring in Delise’s Astoria neighborhood detected a strong voice transmission on 147.96 MHz. They were able to track the signal to the building where Delise resided, and, ultimately, went to his apartment and confronted him.

The FCC said Delise admitted making the transmissions on 147.96 MHz and acknowledged that he did not have an Amateur Radio license. As a result, the FCC’s New York Field office issued a Notice of Unlicensed Operation.

A couple of weeks later, the NYPD informed an FCC field agent that it had taken Delise into custody for “sending out false radio transmissions” over the NYPD radio system and for possessing radios capable of operating on NYPD frequencies, in violation of state law. According to the NYPD, a call had gone out reporting an officer in need, and the responding officer spotted Delise speaking into a radio. The police report said Delise admitted to making the transmission and that he told officers that he had more radios and would continue to transmit on police frequencies. Obtaining a warrant, the NYPD confiscated all radio transmitting equipment from Delise’s apartment, including 14 radios capable of operating on NYPD frequencies.

The FCC concluded that Delise apparently transmitted without a license on Amateur Radio frequencies, even after being warned not to do so, and that he apparently transmitted false or fraudulent distress signals on NYPD frequencies. Both violations were “willful,” the FCC said.


Delise could have faced a penalty of more than $140,000, under the provisions of the Communications Act. The NAL gave Delise 30 days to pay the fine or to file a written statement seeking a reduction or cancellation of the proposed forfeiture. The FCC fine may not be at the top of Delise’s list of worries, however. According to Lisenco, Delise now is serving prison time resulting from the false police call and his guilty pleas to other charges.

Hurricane Watch Net Activating for Hermine

Hurricane watch net
Special Bulletin 11  ARLX011
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  September 1, 2016
To all radio amateurs

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) has announced plans to activate for Tropical Storm Hermine at 1400 UTC. The storm is expected to develop into a hurricane before making landfall on Florida’s Gulf Coast. The net typically operates on 14.325 MHz until nightfall, then moves 7.268 MHz for the remainder of the evening. Given current band conditions, however, the HWN will be active on both frequencies simultaneously. The net will remain in operation until further notice, HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said.

“It seems we’ve been tracking this system, which began as a tropical disturbance, for nearly 2 weeks,” Graves said. “Yesterday, this system finally became Tropical Storm Hermine. It is expected to make landfall late Thursday evening or early Friday morning as a Category 1 Hurricane somewhere between Panama City Beach and Cedar Key, Florida…of course, this could change.”

As of 1200 UTC, Hermine was reported strengthening. It’s located about 235 miles west-southwest of Tampa with maximum sustained winds of 65 MPH, moving north-northeast at 12 MPH. A Hurricane Warning is in effect from the Suwannee River to Mexico Beach. The NWS said interests along the US East Coast should monitor the progress of this system.

Graves said the HWN would be available to provide back-up communication to entities such as emergency operations centers and Red Cross offices in the affected area. “We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed in the National Hurricane Center,” he added.

Florida’s Emergency Operations Center is at full activation, and evacuation shelters are on standby.



800 PM EDT SUN AUG 28 2016

For the North Atlantic...Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico:

The National Hurricane Center is issuing advisories on Hurricane
Gaston, located about 600 miles east of Bermuda, on Tropical
Depression Eight, located about 350 miles southeast of Cape
Hatteras, North Carolina, and on newly formed Tropical Depression
Nine, located about 60 miles south of Key West, Florida.

1. A weak area of low pressure located near the upper Texas coast is
producing disorganized shower activity over the northwestern Gulf of
Mexico and adjacent coastal areas of southwestern Louisiana and
southeastern Texas.  Proximity to land and only marginally favorable
upper-level winds are expected to inhibit development while the low
moves slowly southwestward during the next couple of days. For
additional information on the rainfall associated with this system,
please see products from your local National Weather Service office.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...10 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days...low...10 percent

2. A tropical wave is expected to move offshore of the west coast of
Africa on Monday night or Tuesday.  Conditions are expected to be
favorable for development of this system later this week while it
moves westward at 15 to 20 mph over the tropical eastern Atlantic.
* Formation chance through 48 hours...low...near 0 percent
* Formation chance through 5 days...medium...50 percent

Public Advisories on Tropical Depression Eight are issued under WMO
header WTNT33 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCPAT3.
Forecast/Advisories on Tropical Depression Eight are issued under
WMO header WTNT23 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCMAT3.

Public Advisories on Tropical Depression Nine are issued under WMO
header WTNT34 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCPAT4.
Forecast/Advisories on Tropical Depression Nine are issued under
WMO header WTNT24 KNHC and under AWIPS header MIATCMAT4.

Forecaster Stewart/Cangialosi

Hurricane Watch Net on “Standby Alert” for Unnamed Potential Tropical Storm

Hurricane watch net

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) will go on “Standby Alert” in the event that a strong tropical system bearing the designation “Invest 99L” becomes a named storm over the next couple of days. The system, which already has been generating gale force winds near the Virgin Islands, is moving west-northwest at 15 to 20 MPH. HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, said weather models concur that South Florida could be affected.

“Some models have this system moving a little further south, bringing it over or close to the southern tip of Florida and then into the Gulf of Mexico,” said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. “After that, where the storm will go, and how strong it will be, is yet to be determined.”

NOAA described Invest 99L as “an area of low pressure associated with a tropical wave,” which is producing gale force winds over water to the north of Hispaniola (Dominican Republic and Haiti).

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), Invest 99L, also known within FEMA as “Disturbance 1,” was located southwest of the Turks and Caicos, as of 1200 UTC. FEMA predicted gusty winds and heavy rain likely over the Leeward Islands, Puerto Rico, and the Bahamas. It calculated a “medium” (50 percent) chance that the storm would develop into a tropical storm within the next 48 hours, and a “high” (80 percent) chance over the next 5 days.

Graves said that should Invest 99L become a tropical storm, it will be named Hermine. “Should Hermine become a hurricane and moves to within 300 miles of landfall, the Hurricane Watch Net will activate and remain in continuous operation for as long as required,” he said.

The HWN operates on 14.325 MHz during daylight hours and on 7.268 MHz after dark. As propagation dictates, the net may use both frequencies simultaneously, and Graves indicated that would “most likely be the case” under current conditions.

The HWN will post to its website and announce on the air any updates to operational plans or other changes, as well as notify the Amateur Radio news media.

“Should we need to activate, we will be requesting observed ground-truth data from those in the affected area (wind speed, wind gust, wind direction, barometric pressure – if available, rain, damage, and storm surge),” Graves said. “If you have measured weather data, that would be of great help. We are interested only in your personal observations, preferably measured by calibrated instruments,” he added.

Graves said the HWN is available to provide back-up communication to official entities, such as emergency operations centers and the Red Cross in affected areas. “We will also be interested to collect and report significant damage assessment data to FEMA officials stationed at the National Hurricane Center,” Graves said.

5day AL99 160827 AL99 160827


silent key 02It is with great sadness that I must report that Ralph E (Gene) Shorts, K5SHO has become a Silent Key. Our thoughts and prayers are with his friends and family. No word yet on services.


Ron and Tammy