WAPR News - October, 2001

by Andy Nemec, KB9ALN

Hello again and welcome to October. I am sure we are all glad to leave September, and it's horrible news behind. I'm sure you know that I am referring to the horrid terrorist attacks, and the resultant events that followed. Let's all hope that this situation is dealt with in a manner that holds loss of life to a minimum, and that we Americans and our friends the world over are safe and secure. As of this writing in late September, the situation is still murky and it looks like we are headed for some very uncertain times. Let's hope things get better soon and the heroes that gave their lives in this tragedy aren't joined by any more.

Last month I wrote about the two variants of the "Code Red" worm and the problems it had been causing on the internet. September brought us another one, the "Nimda" (Admin spelled backwards) worm. This one affects both servers and home-type client systems. It looks like this one may be with us for a while, as it has 3 ways to spread. This again points out the vulnerability of the internet when it comes to packet forwarding. You may remember from last month that "Code Red" caused quite a problem for internet routers that handled amateur radio traffic. As of this writing, I have not yet seen the same kind of effect from the "Nimda" worm as we saw with "Code Red". Only time will tell if we see the same kind of problems.

At the risk of sounding alarmist, I say we may want to carefully consider our role as packet operators in these trying times. Can we handle traffic should the internet become unavailable to us for some reason? Are we ready to do our part in handling emergency traffic should (heaven forbid) another disaster occur? Are our networks up to the task? Are our BBSs and nodes configured correctly? And are our nodes capable of operation on emergency power? These are things to consider now, before anything else bad happens. It's good to think about these kinds of things for any potential emergency situation, not just for internet problems or something related to terrorism.

While we were all captivated by the biggest news story most of us have ever seen, Amateurs were also dealing with other, more frequently seen disasters at the time of the terrorist attacks. We must be ready to do our part should any disaster, whether it be the a tornado, wildfire, flooding or hazardous chemical spill or something as unusual and insane as we saw on September 11th. This is something that we have to think about in our role as emergency communicators.

On to something more pleasant. I am pleased to announce the coming WAPR meeting to be held at the Fox Cities Amateur Radio Club Swapfest on November 4th. We plan to meet at 11:00 A.M. in a room at the Swapfest site, the Sabre Lanes in Menasha. This is a well-attended swapfest that draws people from all over the state, and we hope to see a lot of people (including you!) at the meeting.

To get to the Sabre Lanes, get to Highway 441 and exit at Appleton Road South (exit number 47). From there, it's only a couple of blocks to the Sabre Lanes. You can also get directions and a map on the FCARC Web Site .

This is a "full-featured fest", meaning that there will be license exams for prospective hams and all kinds of neat stuff, like snacks and door prizes. So if you needed more reason to come aside from the WAPR meeting, there you have it! Hope to see you there. That's all for now. 

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