Alabama Governor Kay Ivey made her Amateur Radio debut on December 14 — the state’s 198th birthday — at the same time becoming the first person to use the state’s bicentennial call sign, AL2C. Alabama will celebrate its 200th anniversary in 2019, and AL2C will be on the air for 2 years as part of the statewide celebration.
“I’m very excited to see the hard work that has been in the works for some time now to promote Amateur Radio in concert with the Alabama Bicentennial celebration,” said ARRL Alabama Section Manager JVann Martin, W4JVM, who was at the State Capitol for the event. “It was great to activate the brand-new call sign AL2C on Alabama’s 198th birthday, and we look forward to many more activities to come as we build up to Alabama’s 200th birthday.”
The Alabama Bicentennial Amateur Radio Club set up a D-Star VHF station in the Old House Chamber at the Alabama State Capitol in Birmingham. After announcing the Alabama Bicentennial Schools Initiative, Governor Ivey proceeded to the radio station, initiating contact with the Lee County Emergency Management Agency. The governor discussed the Alabama Bicentennial over the air, with Otto Arnoscht, N4UZZ, the AL2C Call Sign Trustee, serving as the control operator.
Also on hand were Alabama House of Representatives Public Information Officer Clay Redden, KC4YAU; Alabama ARRL Public Information Coordinator Ed Tyler, N4EDT; Autauga County Assistant Emergency Coordinator Trent Davis, KV4UZ, and Alabama Bicentennial Amateur Radio Club Treasurer Jason Smith, W4EGR, and Alabama ARRL State Government Liaison Christopher Hall, K4LIA, who also serves as Autauga County ARES EC and as the president of Alabama Bicentennial Amateur Radio Club. Hall established the Alabama Bicentennial Amateur Radio Club and AL2C in July and has been working with the Alabama Bicentennial Commission to promote Alabama’s Bicentennial.
On the other end of the conversation at Lee County Emergency Management Agency was Mike Watkins, WX4AL, the District Delta ARES Emergency Coordinator and Lee County ARES Emergency Coordinator.