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May 2020 Section Update
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the landscape of amateur radio in the section, but it has also moved folks to reassess the familiar ways of doing things and shown how the hobby really is adept at overcoming obstacles.
Cancelled club meetings have resulted in meetings “on the air” all across the state. Net participation is up on local nets, and the daily 3980 Tennessee Phone Net is seeing a substantial increase in check-in’s. In Chattanooga, Assistant Section Manager John Visage reports their VE group has successfully completed “drive through” exams for over 40 people since the pandemic started.
Plans to hold Field Day in June are underway by most all clubs I’ve spoken with, but it will look different this year due to social distancing guidelines. Some clubs are choosing to have members operate individually from their QTH, while others are planning on gathering as a club station in reduced numbers. Regardless of how your club chooses to do it, I’m pleased to see all the enthusiasm for having Field Day go on despite what the virus throws at us, and I’m looking forward to making plenty of Field Day contacts with folks throughout the section.
I haven’t been travelling to many club meetings lately due to all the cancellations, but I will be speaking at the Putnam County ARES meeting on Monday, May 18 in Cookeville. I’m looking forward to thanking them in-person for all their hard work in the aftermath of the recent tornado.
Sadly, there are some hamfest cancellations to report. The Radio Amateur Club of Knoxville Hamfest scheduled for June 20 and the Greater Nashville Hamquest on July 24 have both been cancelled due to virus concerns.
Here’s some good news: The Sevierville Hamfest in March that was cancelled has now been re-scheduled for this fall on Saturday, September 19th at the Sevier County Fairgrounds in Sevierville. By the time we get to September, I’m sure we’ll all be ready for visiting with friends and finding hamfest bargains, so it looks like the Sevierville event is sure to be a big success. Being so close to the shopping and attractions in Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg will make this a weekend with something for everyone.
Look for the latest edition of the TN Section PIC Newsletter on www.tnarrl.org and your email inbox around June 1. This edition will have plenty of information about what’s been going on in Tennessee, announcements about several new TN section appointments, and updates on ARES happenings.
In closing, I ask everyone to keep West TN Assistant Section Manager Tom Vickers, N4TV, in your thoughts and prayers. Tom has been in the hospital and we are hoping he’ll soon be well enough to come back home.
David Thomas – KM4NYI
TN Section Manager