Greetings from Northwestern North Carolina, referred to locally as the
High Country. 

Each of us knows that North Carolina has several different geographical
zones:  Coastal Plain; Sandhills; Piedmont; and Mountains.  The weather,
and to some degree, the climate differs in each zone.  My friends in
Raleigh and Charlotte tell me that they are already past the Spring
blooms; not so up here in the High Country, where Spring is always slow
to arrive.

My home is at 3850 feet above sea level and the mountains around here
are relatively high.  I can see Grandfather Mountain (5945’), Beech
Mountain (5506’).  Our local repeaters are located on Rich Mountain
(4400’).  Mount Mitchell tops out at 6684’, the highest peak east of
the Mississippi River, but I cannot see it because the local mountains
block my view of Mt. Mitchell.  Flatlanders may be surprised to know the
area that repeaters up here can cover.  Mountaintop repeaters often
cover up to 100 miles unless blocked by other mountains.  The Mount
Mitchell repeater on 145.190 can reach parts of seven states (WV, KY,
VA, NC, SC, TN, and GA). 

So, the mountains are very different than the rest of the state.  If you
look me up on, you can see the view from my deck when the leaves
are changing colors in October.  In the picture, Boone is down in the
valley and Rich Mountain is what you see in the picture.  You may be
surprised to know that today, on May 1, there are very few leaves that
have come out on the trees above 4,000 feet in elevation.

I want to highlight for you some activities that are occurring, despite
the COVID-19 Pandemic quarantine.

a.      Several clubs have invited me to participate in the virtual club
meetings.  Drop me an email if you would like me to visit with your club
over Zoom or WebEx.

b.      Likewise, as you plan Field Day, if you have access to video meeting
capabilities during Field Day, I will virtually visit with you since it
seems unlikely I will be traveling across the state for in-person

c.      COVID-19 is affecting planning for upcoming hamfests.  As I write
this, no decision has been made by the organizers whether to hold or
cancel the Salisbury Fire Cracker Hamfest or the Waynesville WCARS
Hamfest, both of which are scheduled for July.  Once a decision is made
information will be sent to you.

d.      Net control stations are still need for the Tarheel Emergency Net
which meets each night on 3923 KHz at 7:30 p.m.  Wednesday is still open
as is the position of Net Manager. We are still working on setting up
training sessions that will be announced when the details are worked

e.      Much of the information posted on the NC ARRL webpage (
had been allowed to become outdated.  Susan Langley Jones (WA4AKB) is
busy posting the updated information that Tom Brown (N4TAB, SEC) and I
are sending to her.  Thank you, Susan, for the time you are investing in
getting accurate and current information out to the ham community.
Thanks also to Tom for his work on updating the ARES® and Auxcomm
information.  Each of you will soon be able to see the results of their
many hours of work.

Speaking of sending you information, I need your help.  There are
approximately 15,000 licensed amateur radio operators in North Carolina
and approximately 4500 of them belong to the ARRL.  According to the
ARRL information available to me, only 3000 or so have set their ARRL
preferences to receive emails sent by the Division Director Bud
Hippisley (W2RU) or Vice Director Bill Morine (N2COP) and me.  This
limits our ability to let you know what is going on and to share
information about future events. 

Remember, if you have concerns are about proposed changes in Tech
privileges, on line license exams, band plans or Field Day and Contest
rules and similar topics, those comments should go to Bud and Bill
because these are policy questions handled by the ARRL Board of
Directors.  Operational concerns about publicizing hamfests and club
activities, ARES and Auxcomm programs, exemplary operator recognition
and similar topics that focus on NC should come to me.

Because some of you may receive this from other sources (such as a club
newsletter), please check your ARRL profile (and ask your friends to
check theirs).  If you log into, at the top of the page, you
can edit your profile and you can go to “Edit Your Email
Preferences”.   Choose the option to receive emails from your Division
Director and Section Manager.  This will expand Bud’s, Bill’s and my
ability to get information out to North Carolina amateur radio

In other matters, plans are underway to produce a monthly NC ARRL
Newsletter which focuses on the variety of ham activities across the
state.  If you want to know more about what is going outside your
locality, the Newsletter will need contributors.  I would like to be
able to publish columns about Contesting, SOTA and POTA, Satellites,
Mesh net activities, DMR and other topics. 

The proposed NC ARRL Newsletter will only be worth the effort YOU put
into it to make it interesting.  I once worked for a county commissioner
who told me that it was a heck of a poor frog that wouldn’t croak
about his own pond.  Don’t be bashful, brag a little about what you
are doing, write up something and we will get it edited, posted and
shared with others. 

Severe weather season is going to be here soon.  On the first Monday of
each month, Virginia Enzor, NC4VA, gives a presentation focused on
weather over the Tarheel Emergency Net on 3923 khz.  Tune in because
Virginia knows her stuff!  NC State University forecasters have
predicted 22 named hurricanes for this year, which would make it a very
active hurricane season.  Are you ready for bad weather?  Check your
backup power, work on your Go Box station, improve your antenna system
and get ready for a busy year.

I am still learning about being Section Manager, like anyone would in a
new job. Your comments, complaints and suggestions will help me do my
job better.. 

Hopefully each of us does something this coming week that makes your
community and ham radio better because of your efforts.

73 and best wishes,     
Marv, WA4NC
NC Section Manager

January 2020 Meeting Program File

Bill Baudry, NC4WB, gave a very nice presentation at out January 2020 club meeting on the National Traffic System (NTS0. If you missed it, or if you need a refresher on the basics of handling formal traffic, here it is:


Our own Dr. Marv Hoffman, WA4NC, has been elected ARRL North Carolina Section Manager, effective April 1, 2000. The ARRL web site summarizes the responsibilities of this office as follows: “The Section Manager is accountable for carrying out the duties of the office in accordance with ARRL policies established by the Board of Directors and shall act in the best interests of Amateur Radio.” Further details of this position can be seen at After reading this, you will agree that Marv has a big job ahead! I am sure our club will support him as he carries out his new duties!


Watauga ARES/Auxcomm amateur radio operators were asked to assist the Red Cross during a recent law enforcement operation. On March 22 over 100 law enforcement, fire and rescue personnel conducted an intensive day-long search over rugged terrain in western Watauga County, looking for a missing person who had left his home and had not returned. We picked up and distributed sandwiches, chips, fruit, coffee, water and soft drinks for the search personnel for lunch and returned later in the day with a hot meal when the search personnel returned to base camp. W4ZW George, WA4NC Marv, and KB4JEB Jack supporting search operation

George W4ZW, Marv WA4NC, and Jack KE4JEB


We are proud to announce that the callsign WA4J, which belonged to our club member John W. Dinkins, SK, has been assigned to the Watauga Amateur Radio Club. The familiar WA4J Repeater ID is once again announcing its presence on 147.36 MHz. Thanks to Repeater Trustee Doug Hall, WA4UNS, for his efforts in this matter.