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Field Day 2020 – The Impact of COVID-19

Field Day 2020 – The Impact of COVID-19

       Amateur Radio Field Day Readiness Exercise Modified by COVID-19

    On the fourth weekend of June ham radio clubs in the territory traditionally conduct annual “Field Day” emergency readiness exercises. Radio amateurs (hams)literally head to the field and install portable antennas and operate on emergency power to simulate a real emergency in order to be better prepared to serve when one arrives. Field day is also a club oriented activity which serves as a venue to interact with the public and to demonstrate and explain the hobby.    

Unfortunately, COVID-19 has changed this year’s plans. In keeping with the Governor’s social distancing mandate, this year’s field day will see many smaller individual socially responsible operations.   

Not wanting to miss the opportunity to interact with the public, territory hams have arranged a virtual exercise to explain Field Day and the hobby to the public. The “Virtual QSO” (a QSO is ham language for a radio contact) will be live streamed on Saturday June 27th at 6:30pm on the St. Thomas Amateur Radio Club Facebook page located at The public is invited to join in the fun and learn more about field day and the exciting hobby of ham radio.   

    There are almost 300 amateur radio licensees in the US Virgin Islands and more than 760,000 in the USA. Field day is an annual event sponsored by American Relay Radio League (ARRL), the national association for Amateur Radio. The ARES (Amateur Radio Emergency Service) program and ham volunteers provide emergency communications during times of need, all for free. “When disaster strikes, ham radio operators are often the first to provide critical information and communications,” said Fred Kleber, ARRL Section Manager.
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For additional information contact:
Sean Cullinan St. Croix Amateur Radio Club
Telephone: 443-366-8371

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May 2, 20200 commentsRead More
NCS Cheat Sheet

NCS Cheat Sheet

This spreadsheet is meant to assist those stations acting as net control for nets in the USVI. It contains the suffixes of those stations known to be active on VHF nets. Callsign suffixes (the letters after the number in the call) are bold faced. If there are multiple instances of the same suffix (E.g. NP2RB and WP2RB), the prefixes for each call are listed. The list is maintained by Fred, NP2X, and future updates should be directed to him.

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June 1, 20190 commentsRead More
HAMS in Paradise – Spring 2019

HAMS in Paradise – Spring 2019

Wow, what a difference a year makes!  Ham radio is coming alive in the USVI, both in infrastructure and new hams joining our ranks.  It’s a known fact that following hurricanes there is logically an increase in interest in ham radio, but what’s happened over the past year is beyond my wildest dreams! 


License classes on all three major islands, and even several rescue members on little Water Island (in Charlotte Amalie harbor) want to join in the fun.  On St. John, the efforts of Larry, NP2LP & Jennifer, NP2QT Pruss, a total of three tech license classes have been held resulting in a couple of dozen hams on St. John.  A couple of these new hams even ventured from the neighboring British Virgin Island of Tortola to obtain their tickets! 

St. Thomas has also joined in the quest to license more hams.  Recently upgraded extra Dr. Henry Smith, KP2J (ex-NP2QP) has fostered an effective and productive learning environment.  The professor is now teaching both technician and general licensing classes. His second licensing class is about ready to sit for their tech tests.  He hopes to keep his noteworthy student perfect pass rate intact!  Also, congratulations to Dr. Smith on going from no license to extra class inside of a year!  Great job! 

Last night saw the first ham class on St. Croix in some five years commence with 30 students.  We look forward to welcoming our next group of hams just in time for this year’s Field Day 22-23 June.  We will be looking forward to the next “all islands” Field Day exercise, after several years of challenges. 


Following the devastation of hurricanes Irma and Maria, a single repeater remained on the air.  The only links between islands were via those stations with coverage to neighboring islands.  Clearly something had to be done.  Through a community foundation grant, new repeaters, controllers, duplexers, etc. were procured for all islands.  Thanks to the efforts of Larry, NP2LP and Carlos, NP2DL, I am happy to report that there are now five LINKED repeaters covering all three islands.  As icing on the cake for our newer licensees, Echolink and IRLP capability was also added.  Thanks to the ability to link to the National Hurricane Center’s WX-TALK Echo/IRLP weather net, the Territory will be much better informed for what is coming over the horizon.  Needless to say, the linked repeater system is abuzz with new hams.  Weekly nets generally have in excess of 20 check-ins, some from a-far via Echolink. 


The relationship with VITEMA, our Territorial EMA, was tested to the limit following the storms.  With all of the Federal financial aid pouring into the Territory, a small piece was secured to improve and harden communications from our EOCs.  Soon, the EOCs on all three islands will bear the distinctive calls KP2EOC, NP2EOC and WP2EOC.  VI hams anxiously anticipate the Senatorial confirmation of Daryl Jaschen, NP2QD, as the next Director of VITEMA.  Before, during and following Irmaria, he was a prime relief EOC ham operator in St. Croix.  This provided him with relevant, front-line emcomm experience to gauge the state of readiness in the Territory.  As a retired colonel form the VI National Guard, he has ‘walked-the-walk’ in the military ranks.  As a long-time VI resident, he is a familiar name, and face, to many Territorial and community organizations.  The hams of the VI congratulate him and look forward to furthering their relationship with VITEMA. 


Our recent graduates are not sitting around just chatting up a storm with their newly issued licenses.  They’re learning net protocol and preparing to help their communities and organizations.  They’re on-line taking their core ICS classes (ICS-100 / 200 / 700 / 800) to prepare for future support of Territorial and Federal partner agencies, and other NGOs.  They’re practicing their skills supporting public events, such as the “Eight Tough Miles” on St. John with some 1,500 participants. 


The longevity of our hobby critically depends on attracting, training, mentoring and retaining younger hams.  Some of our younger hams (Skylar, NP2QS and Tia, NP2RE) think it’s cool to wear their HTs to school.  The teachers unknowingly tell them that “cellular phones aren’t allowed in school”.  Skylar and Tia politely and proudly reply, “This is not a cell phone.  It’s a ham radio.”  They have formed a ham club at their school boasting 14 members and “already have permission from the Principal to put an antenna on the roof”.   Great job young ladies! 

Reynaldo, WP2RB, hosted a group of youngsters to participate in the recently concluded CQ WPX SSB contest.  The wide-eyed future operators made over 100 contacts!  What a great job for youngsters who had never touched a microphone!  Following the contest Reynaldo met with a school teacher who enlisted his assistance to bring amateur radio classes into a local grade school.  We’ll be looking for another school club soon on St. Croix thanks to Reynaldo! 


As the mainland US battles severe Spring weather, we too in the islands prepare for inclement weather.  Hurricanes are a fact of life here.  Thankfully we generally have sufficient time to make storm-imminent preparations.  Everyone talks about the seasonal storm predictions from the experts.  The only storm that matters is the one coming at you, and if you’re not prepared, then you’re too late. 

I am elated to see the rise of ham radio in the Territory!  Thank you to the seasoned hams who selflessly give hours of their time to train students and install repeaters.  I salute all the new hams and applaud you for your drive to become prepared to help your family, friends and Territory in their time of need.  Together we will make our Virgin Islands a safer place to call home.   Hope to work you on the air soon!


Fred, NP2X / K9VV
VI Section Manger

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April 18, 20190 commentsRead More
Technician License Class Begins on STX!

Technician License Class Begins on STX!

Students learning about the thrill of Amateur Radio

April 16, 2019 – Classes began this evening for students wishing to obtain their FCC amateur technician class license. A total of nine 2-hour classroom sessions are scheduled for students to prepare for their license exam in the tenth class. All of the Tuesday evening (6 pm to 8 pm) sessions are kindly being hosted by the American Red Cross of the Virgin Islands at their Sunny Isle headquarters.

A total of eight instructors from the St. Croix Amateur Radio Club have volunteered to teach various portions of the class. The classes will not be only information oriented, but also incorporate ‘hands on’ opportunities to utilize their newly learned skills.

A total of 30 students from many walks of life are interested in obtaining their license for a variety of personal reasons, however over-arching themes were community service and communications following storms. Many community and governmental organizations are represented in the class mix. (American Red Cross, Bureau of Corrections, FEMA, Juan Luis hospital, STX Rescue, VITEMA and WTJX Broadcasting.)

Individuals wishing to attend the class, or with other questions, should submit them to the class e-mail address of

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Public Service in Paradise

Public Service in Paradise

Public Service in Paradise: The US Virgin Islands

The Territory of the U.S. Virgin Islands is comprised of three islands: St. Thomas, St. John and St. Croix.  St. Thomas (population 40,000) is familiar to most as the busiest Caribbean cruise-ship destination, with some 1,500,000 annual passengers.  St. John (population 1,500), just east of St. Thomas, is nearly as large, and only accessible by ferry.  Two-thirds of St. John is a national park, and hence lacks significant development.  St. Croix (population 40,000), is the largest of the three islands and lies 35 miles south of St. Thomas.  There is a robust amateur community, with repeaters, nets, and clubs on each island.  The USVI was incorporated into the ARRL Field Organization as the ARRL Virgin Islands Section in 1982, and its current Section Manager, Fred Kleber, K9VV/NP2X, has served since 2012. 

If this sounds like paradise, it is, but sometimes not so much.  With its closet mutual aid responders some 1,000 miles away, amateur radio has historically played a vital role.  As category five hurricanes Irma and Maria pummeled the Caribbean, amateur radio provided a critical communications link for the Territory.  Territory ARES® hams supported local and Federal partners, including communication with US Navy aircraft and vessels.  Following the devastation from hurricane Irma, first responders were in search-and-rescue mode.  The priorities were rescue, medical evacuation, hospital recovery, damage assessment, port repairs, and shelters.

On the heels of Irma, hurricane Maria’s outer eye-wall crossed St. Croix at category 5 intensity.  (185 MPH sustained and 200+ MPH gusts!)  Maria caused catastrophic damage to St. Croix.  The majority of buildings were damaged or destroyed.  Some 95% of the utility poles in St. Croix had fallen, and the majority of cell telephone sites were out.   St. John was especially hard hit with 8 of 9 cell sites inoperable. 

The St. Croix Amateur Radio Club (SCARC) and USVI ARES® supported the Virgin Islands Territorial Emergency Management Agency (VITEMA) acting under ESF-2 (Communications) from September 5 through October 2, 2017.  From the St. Croix EOC, SCARC acted as net control relying heavily on the shared 60-meter band to conduct nets involving Territorial, Federal, and non-governmental agencies.  Traffic was passed between the EOC, responding agencies, Puerto Rico, the Hurricane Watch Net (14.325 MHz), and the Friendly Net (7.188 MHz).   VI ARES® coordinated many medical evacuations, supply flights, and provided other logistical communications support.  

Although not ultimately required, Kleber planned to deploy wireless mesh network nodes to provide data connectivity between key USVI government locations. “We have used every trick in our comms bag of tricks to make stuff work,” he said.  A total of 2,232 volunteer man-hours were provided by the team of 13 dedicated VI amateurs.  Commercial power restoration exceeded 100 days in some locations.  Understandably, amateur radio filled a huge telecommunications gap.

More Than Just Hurricane Response

Amateur radio operators serve other public safety functions across the Islands.  On October 3, 2018, St. John Rescue members Larry Pruss, NP2LP, and Jennifer Pruss, NP2QT, were attending the monthly meeting of the volunteer organization.  The meeting was interrupted by a request for assistance from the VI Police Department.  The police had received a report of an empty small vessel washed up on the rocks in Reef Bay.   Larry Pruss, NP2LP, and Jennifer Pruss, NP2QT, immediately headed to the search area, while other St. John Rescue members commenced the maritime portion of the search.  The severely injured and dehydrated boater was found huddled amidst the treacherous rocks, and his life was saved.  For Larry and Jennifer Pruss, it was a family affair: daughter Tia, NP2RE, had made the initial call for assistance using her newly acquired license and traffic handling skills.  Following the successful rescue of the stranded boater, both daughters, Tia, NP2RE, and Skylar, NP2QS, radioed the reports that the mariner had been located.

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, a devastated St. John community awoke to the realization of the critical value of the amateur service.  The Pruss family has been the spark plug of a new generation of hams on St. John. Through the assistance of Gilly Grimes, NP2OW, the support of St John Rescue, and two technician class sessions, the region now has 23 new hams.  This is quite an impressive accomplishment in just six months!  These new licensees are members of the community, St. John Rescue, the National Park Service, the Fire Service, and include four youngsters under 13 years old.  Five have completed the requirements to become ARES® members.

Additionally, one of the Pruss’ initial examinees, Dr. Henry Smith, NP2QP, is nearly finished teaching a new crop of a dozen future technician licensees on St. Thomas.  Local old timers are assisting new licensees with antenna building classes, public service opportunities, and well attended field day exercises.  The bottom line is a cadre of new and upgraded hams, resulting in a larger, trained, and more robust, ham population to support future disasters. 

Hurricanes Aftermath: Rebuild, Enhance Amateur Infrastructure

After the 2017 storms rocked the Territory, media interest waned, and the mainland US turned its eyes to western wildfires.  The USVI was left to pick up the pieces, but not alone.  Kleber recounted new relief “friends” gained in helping the USVI rebuild: FEMA employees, US Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard, US Army, private consultants, linemen, National Park Service, etc.  “Some of their responders were hams who showed up on the local repeater and attended club meetings,” Kleber said, “The Territory is forever indebted to these individuals and their organizations,” he added.  “They have made a huge difference.”

As for amateur service hardware, the Territory ham repeater network suffered extensive damage.  The sole on-air repeater (NP2VI) provided hand-held coverage to the helicopter landing zone and other critical locations.  Kleber reported “Through one of our new relief friends, who happened to be a ham, we were introduced to a philanthropic opportunity to purchase new repeaters, controllers, link radios, PV panels and batteries.”   Kleber is happy to report the USVI inter-island repeater system is completely connected with resilient UHF links.  Additional linked repeaters are currently being installed on all islands.  When commercial power is lacking, PV panels and batteries power the system.  Echolink/IRLP capability will have soon been added, as well as linking to Puerto Rico.  Lastly, there are plans to link to a 5-island system with coverage reaching south to Dominica.

Hams and Territorial Entities Continue to Work Together

It wasn’t long ago that St John personnel got word that the Mamey Peak radio tower — home to mission critical repeater antennas serving the Rescue service and the Virgin Islands National Park Service was being shut down.  Rescue members and park employees had used the tower repeater antennas to assist police, fire, and emergency medical services.  With the help of the National Park Superintendent, a new physical location for a tower was found atop Lizard Hill and technical challenges were overcome.  Gilly Grimes, NP2OW, oversaw the successful project, which was an excellent example of government agencies and organized volunteer radio amateurs can work together.  Logistical communications for triathlons, walk-a-thons, and water based events, continue to provide venues for new hams to practice their communications and technical skills. 

ARRL Field Day is Big for Territory’s Amateur Community and Government Agencies

The 2018 ARRL Field Day provided a great opportunity for new and veteran hams to get out and exercise the new amateur systems, operators’ experience, training, and the resulting new response capabilities.  Kleber acknowledged a great promotional effort spearheaded by USVI SEC, Daryl Jaschen, NP2QD, resulted in the attendance of many staff and officials from local partner agencies, such as VITEMA, the VI National Guard, St. Croix Rescue, and the American Red Cross.  The media was also represented.

Going Forward

For their efforts in post storm response, Kleber and fellow USVI amateurs were awarded the ARRL 2018 Humanitarian Award.  Additionally Kleber was lauded for his individual efforts with the YASME Excellence Award.

VI hams frequently attend ICS classes and training exercises. These interactions form a foundational bond and future interactions with partner agency personnel.  With the influx of new hams, grants, and the old timer expertise, the Territory amateurs are well positioned to support future responses. If you would like to follow future developments, please visit

Figure 1 – FD “Class photo” at Cramer’s Park – the St. Croix VITEMA mobile EOC. (photo courtesy K9VV/NP2X)

Figure 2“Graduation photo” at St. John Rescue test session – (photo courtesy K9VV/NP2X)


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February 22, 20190 commentsRead More
Ham Radio Isn’t Just for Hurricanes: Ham Radio Assists in Rescue of Missing Mariner

Ham Radio Isn’t Just for Hurricanes: Ham Radio Assists in Rescue of Missing Mariner

by Larry Pruss, NP2LP & Fred Kleber, K9VV / NP2X
[St. John, US Virgin Islands, October 3, 2018] It was Thursday night and I was nodding in and out while watching TV. From the other room I heard what sounded like a weak scratchy signal trying to access the local repeater. I ignored it at first, and heard scratchiness again. The “L” in CW at the end of each transmission meant the transmitting station was via the UHF link of the newly installed inter-island repeater system.

Half asleep I stumbled into the other room and transmitted, “This is Fred, NP2X on St. Croix. The station trying to access the repeater, you are very noisy into the system, please try it again.” Again I heard a very scratchy station breaking the squelch of the repeater. Again I responded, “Sorry, you’re still unintelligible into the repeater. If you are using a handheld, please try moving a bit and try again.” On the next transmission I could make out a couple of syllables in a young girl’s voice.” I responded, “OK that location is better and I heard a little bit. Don’t change your location. What is your call sign?”

In a calm voice I heard, “This is Tia”. I immediately recognized the voice as that of Tatiana “Tia” Pruss, NP2RE. Tia is the youngest daughter of St. John hams Larry (NP2LP) & Jennifer (NP2QT) Pruss. Finally my head was becoming clearer and I thought to myself, “Isn’t it a bit late for someone of Tia’s age to be on the radio?” I responded to Tia, “OK Tia, I understand that is you. Is everything OK? Do you need help?” Again the answer was a scratchy uncopiable signal. I responded, “Tia, please give me a yes or no on if you need help.” Tia calmly responded, “No, everything is OK.” I responded, “OK Tia, I will standby on frequency in case you need anything.” What I heard unfold made me proud to be a ham in the USVI.

Unbeknownst to me, Tia’s parents had been attending the monthly meeting of St. John Rescue, a volunteer organization serving the St John, USVI community. Shortly after arriving to the meeting, St. John Rescue received a request for assistance from the VI Police Department. They had received a report of a dingy spotted washed up on the rocks in Reef Bay with no occupant. Larry and Jennifer immediately left the St. John Rescue meeting and headed to Reef Bay. Other members of St. John Rescue headed to the marina to begin conducting the maritime portion of the search.

What follows is Larry’s summary in his own words. “Jennifer and I set about traversing the various shorelines and beaches in the dark in search of the boater. The terrain became too rocky for Jennifer to continue, so she remained behind perched on the rocks providing flood lighting. As the Rescue radio coverage was marginal, Jennifer and I kept in touch with our VHF amateur HAM radios. When the lights of the Rescue boat became visible in the bay, both Jennifer and I found we had unreliable communications with the boat.

I came upon the dingy which had crashed upon the rocks. After finding the dingy and continued traversing the rocky shoreline, I pondered returning due to the jagged rocky shoreline. Just before making a decision to return, I encountered the boater huddled along the shore in a rock crevice. The boater reported his boat hit the reef, was thrown from the dingy, and ended up on the rocky shore. His position was an extremely treacherous spot which the Rescue boat could not reach. We were at the water’s edge at the base of a tall seashore cliff. Besides some minor scratches, the boater was cold and thirsty. I gave him a Mylar blanket for warmth and he gladly drank the water we brought.

With no cell service and having difficulty with our VHF radio, the immediate need was to notify the Rescue boat that we had located the missing person and discuss his evacuation.

Using our Yaesu Ham radios Jennifer called our daughters Tia, NP2RE and Skylar, NP2QS, at our home and requested they relay we had located the missing person to the Rescue boat. Tia and Skylar immediately went about contacting the some other Rescue members that passed along the message that we had found the missing individual.

The boater was not able to hike out from our location as he was both exhausted and without shoes. Jennifer hiked to the top of the hill to acquire some shoes from a house to protect the patient’s feet as we moved him from the sharp rocks. Due to the proximity of the reef and large waves, it was also not feasible to land the Rescue boat on the beach. Another Rescue member, Dylan Baird, arrived on scene and managed to reach me. He had taken a 4-wheeler to the site, hiked down the beach, and climbed the dangerous rocks to reach the boater’s location. Dylan had the good idea to try using the dingy to get our Rescue subject to the Rescue boat. In the dark, Dylan and I pulled the dingy off the rocks, bailed enough water out of it to keep it afloat, and started the engine. Dylan made a break for the reef to get the boat further drained of water and to coordinate next steps with the Rescue boat.

I stayed with the boater. Dylan reached the Rescue boat and returned with Brian Grassi, another Rescue member, a short time later. We put a lifejacket on the boater and together they transported him to the Rescue boat. Upon reaching the harbor, he was transported to the local clinic for treatment.”

We felt good about a number of things:

 Within approximately thirty minutes of locating the injured boater, he was transported to the Rescue boat.  Our daughters aged 12 and 13 flawlessly executed the relay of critical information using their newly learned skills. (Note: Tia has been HAM licensed 2 weeks and Skylar 5 months)  The HAM radio and Rescue training our family received and practiced, may have well saved a life

Following Hurricanes Irma and Maria, Larry and Jennifer Pruss have been the sparkplugs of a new generation of hams on St. John. In the last 6 months, and with the support of St John Rescue, they have held two HAM class sessions resulting in 23 new hams on St. John (19) St. Thomas (2) and the BVI (2) have been licensed through their instructional efforts. These new licensees are members of the community, St. John Rescue, the National Park Service, the Fire Department, and include 4 children under 13 years old.

Want to know more about ham radio? Check out Want to know more about ham radio in the Virgin Islands? Please visit Want to know more about St John Rescue? Please visit

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November 19, 20180 commentsRead More


October 25, 2018
St. Charles, MO
The Board of Directors of The Yasme Foundation announces that it has made a significant grant to ARISS (Amateur Radio on the International Space Station, in support of the Critical Infrastructure Fund. Yasme has supported this important upgrade to the ISS amateur station since the effort began and challenges other organizations and individuals to support it, as well. As of late 2018, ARISS is the only non-commercial entity being considered for NASA’s Deep Space Gateway program, indicating the importance with which the space program views amateur radio. Putting and keeping amateur radio in space is a significant expense and needs the support of the entire amateur community.
The Yasme Excellence Award is presented to individuals and groups who, through their own service, creativity, effort and dedication, have made a significant contribution to amateur radio. The contribution may be in recognition of technical, operating or organizational achievement, as all three are necessary for amateur radio to grow and prosper. The Yasme Excellence Award is in the form of a cash grant and an individually-engraved crystal globe.
The Board of Directors of The Yasme Foundation is pleased to announce the latest recipients of the Yasme Excellence Award:
Brian Machesney, K1LI and Michelle Guenard—in recognition of their extraordinary efforts on behalf of Commonwealth of Dominica communities in the wake of the 2017 hurricane season. Their efforts included fund-raising, delivery of communications supplies, on-site support, and application of amateur radio technologies to support the relief efforts which continue today.
Fred Kleber, K9VV/KP2—in recognition of Fred’s leadership and technical skills that support the Virgin Island’s emergency communications capabilities. Fred has been a key player long before hurricanes Irma and Maria devastated the islands. He is hard at work today re-building and extending the inter-island communication systems even after his own station suffered extensive damage.
Zorro Miyazawa, JH1AJT—for his extensive promotion of amateur radio in developing counties. Governments and telecommunications administrators in Bangladesh (S2), Bhutan (A5), Cambodia (XU), Eritrea (E3), and Myanmar (XZ) have benefited from Zorro’s patient and skillful efforts, supporting his own government and his fellow amateurs in Japan and around the world.
Stu Phillips, K6TU— for contributions to amateur radio through his Propagation and DX Strategy website, In particular, his innovative tools, free for amateur use, enhance the use of the High Frequency Terrain Analysis (HFTA) program developed by Dean Straw, N6BV, another Excellence Award recipient in 2012.
Randy Wright, W6CUA—in recognition of his long service to the Yasme Foundation as our Awards Manager. His steady efforts and exacting attention to detail and customer service are greatly appreciated.
The Yasme Foundation is a not-for-profit corporation organized to support scientific and educational projects related to amateur radio, including DXing (long distance communication) and the introduction and promotion of amateur radio in developing countries. For additional information about The Yasme Foundation, visit our website at
Ward Silver, NØAX, President
The Yasme Foundation
Board of Directors:
Ward Silver, NØAX, President and Director
Ken Claerbout, K4ZW, Vice-President, Secretary and Director
Rusty Epps, W6OAT, Treasurer and Director
Hans Blondeel Timmerman, PB2T, Director
Martti Laine, OH2BH, Director
Fred Laun, K3ZO, Director
Robert Vallio, W6RGG, Director
Marty Woll, N6VI, Director
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November 5, 20180 commentsRead More
HAMS In Paradise – Fall 2018

HAMS In Paradise – Fall 2018

Wow, hard to believe we’re back in “season”. Here at the peak of hurricane season, the Atlantic looks like a conga-line of storms. The below photo doesn’t show the remnants of hurricane Gordon which has dissipated over CONUS. The seasonal conga line of storms is strewn across the Atlantic like a stormy pearl necklace.

It is hard to believe that one year ago the USVI experienced the rage of Irma & Maria. I look back on the amount of new relief “friends” I have encountered and am humbled. These are people who have come to help the USVI rebuild. FEMA employees, US Army Corps of Engineers, National Guard, US Army, private consultants, linemen, National Park Service, etc. The list goes on-and-on. Some are hams who show up on the local repeater and also at our meetings. The Territory is forever indebted to these individuals and their organizations. They ARE making a HUGE difference!

The USVI is fortunate to be supported by the BILLIONS of federal relief and loan dollars that are pouring into the Territory. The Stafford Act (a disaster funding allocation act allowing only replacement of damaged infrastructure, and the like, to pre-disaster condition), has long been a staple of Federal disaster recovery. Now in certain circumstances, mitigation dollars can be used to improve and harden damaged infrastructure. This is HUGE news for the Territory which has many, many, many maintenance challenges which often come from years of maintenance neglect and fraud.

They say that from bad comes good. I am happy to highlight a couple of good things that happened as a result of the storms. A devastated St. John awoke and realized the value of ham radio. From the tireless efforts of Jennifer Pruss and in coordination with St. John Rescue, the first ham license class yielded 15 new hams, including some from St. Thomas and BVI! Jennifer also passed her Technician and General classes on the first try! Class number two will graduate shortly and many of the students are upgrading from their Technican. Well done Jennifer and new STJ hams!! St. John will now possess a sizeable ham population to assist in future disasters.

The Territory ham repeater network suffered extensive damage. In fact, only a single repeater (NP2VI) remained active in the strom. The 30+ year old discontinued Tait repeater provided hand-held coverage to the helicopter landing zone, and other critical locations. Through one of our new relief friends, who happens to be a ham, we were introduced to a philanthropic opportunity to purchase new repeaters, controllers, link radios, PV panels and batteries. I am happy to say that in the near future the USVI island repeater system will be linked using resilient UHF link radios. The entire system will be powered by PV panels and batteries and will be off grid. Future projects include the addition of Echolink / IRLP on the system, as well as linking to another similar system which has coverage reaching Dominica to the south.

Field Day was a great chance to get out & test our capability to operate from well, the FIELD. Thanks to a great promotional effort spearheaded by Daryl, NP2QD, turnout from supporting local agencies was high. VITEMA, the VI National Guard, St. Croix Rescue, American Red Cross, and a few reporters joined in the activity. Nearly all states & provinces were contacted.

“Class photo” at Cramers Park – STX


Well, the Territory continues to recover and rebuild. Keeping our fingers crossed that none of the conga line comes to visit us this year.

73 – Fred, K9VV / NP2X
Section Manger, USVI Section

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September 9, 20180 commentsRead More
Field Day 2018 Highlights

Field Day 2018 Highlights

Highlights of 2018 Field Day include:

  • 504 QSOs (Phone and CW)
  • 69 of 80 participating ARRL Section QSOs (USA and Canada)
  • 1,606 total points (656 QSOs and 950 bonus)
  • 2 HF stations operated on emergency power – generator
  • 1 VHF station operated on emergency power – generator
  • 40 visitors to our site at Cramer’s Park
  • 15 Licensed Amateur Radio Operators participated
  • 9 Non-Licensed individuals signed up for more information
  • 64 Public Service hours logged
  • 256 ARES hours logged

The A3 and 2M yagi antennas used during Field Day were made available due to the generosity of NP2N/George and facility caretaker Chuck/WA0ROI.

Click here for pictures and more information about Field Day 2018

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August 7, 20180 commentsRead More
Weekly ARES Net will be back on the St. Croix NP2VI Repeater starting on 4/30/2018

Weekly ARES Net will be back on the St. Croix NP2VI Repeater starting on 4/30/2018

Effective Monday, 30 April 2018, the 2000hrs (local), St. Croix ARES net call will once again be conducted on the St. Croix repeater; NP2VI – 147.25 MHz (+) offset; 100 Hz tone. The audio on the repeater has been corrected although there still is a odd noise being made at the end of every transmission.  This repeater provides the widest coverage area for the net and we look forward to your participation!

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April 4, 20180 commentsRead More