The ARES E-Letter for April 20 2016

Preview If you are having trouble reading this message, you can see the original at: April 20, 2016 Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE ARES E-Letter Archive ARES Home ARRL Home Page In This Issue:   Oregon Amateurs Aid SAR Mission ARRL to offer Understanding Local MOU’s webinar Tip: FEMA Daily Operations Briefings, Other News, Alerts, Available by E-Mail Baker to Vegas Relay Challenge Supported by Mass of Southwestern Hams Letters: ARDF and SAR Tech Tip: ARES/RACES Powerpole Configuration Letters: Of Tone Squelch Systems and Alerts Letters: Check Laws before Spiking the Ground FEMA Bulletin: Learn to Protect Yourself in a Tornado Situation Parting Shots ARES Briefs, Links FEMA Official Tells ARRL Delaware Section Conference that Her Agency Values Amateur Radio (4/14/16); Sign up for FEMA alerts, news, briefs here, see story below; Ohio SEC Hoping to Expand “NVIS Antenna Day” Activity this Year (4/6/2016); Hurricane Watch Net Seeks Net Control Operators (3/30/2016); Washington National Guard Communications Exercise Involves Use of 60 Meters (3/30/2016); Puerto Rico ARES Volunteers Take Part in Caribe Wave 2016 Exercise (3/21/2016) The Florida Statewide Hurricane Exercise, tentatively scheduled for May 18, includes Amateur Radio support for this year’s event: the plan calls for every county ARES group to send a simple message to the State EOC at Tallahassee via HF or SARNet (UHF). Details will be forthcoming from ARRL section leadership. An ARRL West Central Florida Section press release calls for ARES members statewide to contact their local Emergency Coordinator for information on how to participate.The State EOC has requested that individual amateurs are not to contact the State EOC or Division of Emergency Management concerning the exercise. The ARRL Northern Florida Section ARES Communications Plan has been revised and updated for NIMS compliance, new technologies and modes, and will be released in time for implementation before the statewide hurricane exercise.


The ARES E-Letter for March 16, 2016


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

March 16,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This


Amateur Radio Sessions at the
National Hurricane Conference, Orlando, Next Week

Communications Support for the “Greatest Free Show
on Earth”

Wisconsin’s Sawyer County ARES/RACES Receives
Donation from Ski Race Foundation

Letters: W1HKJ fldigi Suite’s flmsg

Florida Amateurs Take Part In Severe Weather
Awareness Day

Letters: Mass Alert Systems

Boston Marathon Communications Committee Seeks

Biennial Radiation Drill Supported by Southern
Florida ARES

Tech Tips: Crimping Tools

Letters: Solar Panels

Maryland-DC ARES Statewide ARDF/SAR for Missing

ARES Briefs, Links

Deputy John Krawczak, KJ0P, of Minnetonka, Minnesota, was recently presented
the 2015 Hennepin County Sheriff’s Distinguished Service Award and the
2015 Minnesota Sheriff’s Association Volunteer Of The Year Award. Krawczak is
a member of the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office Volunteer Services
Division on the Communications Response Team. Twenty radio amateurs are members of
the team that provides public safety and amateur communications support in
emergencies/disasters and community events.

The Puerto
Rico Emergency Management Agency (PREMA) and other agencies will
participate in a communications drill simulating a tsunami incident, along with
radio amateurs in supporting roles. The exercise is slated for tomorrow, March
17 at 10 AM local time.The Puerto Rico ARES organization will be active,
and registered on where more information can be found. The aim of the
exercise is to test the reliability of communication systems and protocols
between centers of tsunami alerts and to help emergency management agencies
to improve their preparedness in the event of an alert. Since 2010,
Amateur Radio operators have played a role in the exercise, executed in
conjunction with the Puerto Rico Seismic Network (RSPR), the Caribbean Warning
Tsunami Exercise (Caribe Wave), FEMA, the Puerto Rico Emergency Management
Administration, and NOAA.

ARRL Officials at Michigan
Communications Conference: The 2016 Michigan
Statewide Interoperability Communications Conference held at Great Wolf Lodge
February 22-25 in Traverse City, Michigan,

ARRL officials
attend Michigan conference, l to r, Dale Williams, WA8EFK, Great Lakes
Division Director; Larry Camp, WB8R, Michigan Section Manager; John McDonough,
WB8RCR, Michigan Section Emergency Coordinator.

featured the state’s auxcomm protocols, with amateurs
playing a significant role in many presentations and discussions. From the
conference summary, “In an emergency, every link in the chain is critical
and those links must be firmly connected. That means every agency, every
leader and every employee needs to be on the same page and committed to our
shared strategic vision of interoperability.”

Forces Day 2016 Communication Test to Include Direct Military-Ham Contact on
60 Meters (3/1/16); ARES Groups, Individual Hams Support Army and Air Force
MARS Communications Exercise (3/1/16); ARES Team Leverages Radio Services, Local
Media, Internet in Missouri Flood Watch (2/22/16)

Amateur Radio Sessions at the National Hurricane
Conference, Orlando, Next Week

Amateur Radio
capabilities will be presented at the 2016 National Hurricane Conference,
which will be held next week in Orlando, Florida, at the Orlando Hilton
hotel. The conference theme is to improve hurricane preparedness as it has
been in past years. All Amateur Radio sessions are free, and all will be
held on Tuesday afternoon, March 22, 2016 from 1:30 to 5:00 PM. Here is the
session breakdown:

NHC Session #1 – 1:30 to 3:00
PM: Dr. Rick Knabb, Director, National Hurricane Center will discuss the
importance of Amateur Radio surface reporting. Bob Robichaud, VE1MBR, of the
Canadian Hurricane Centre, will present on hurricane meteorological topics
and an overview of Canadian Hurricane Centre operations. Julio Ripoll,WD4R,
Assistant Amateur Radio Station Coordinator will present on National
Hurricane Center station WX4NHC operations.

NHC Session
#2: 3:15 to 5:00 PM: Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, Hurricane Watch Net Manager,
will present an overview of the net, use of personal weather stations and
backup power/antenna. Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations, VoIP
Hurricane Net and ARRL ARES Eastern Massachusetts Assistant SEC, will discuss net
operations, and best practices in SKYWARN tropical systems reporting. Ken
Bailey, K1FUG, ARRL Assistant Manager of Preparedness and Response, will
present the ARRL Beginner’s Course in Ham Radio Hurricane Preparedness.
Finally, a Q&A session and door raffle prizes will be offered.

Amateur Radio presentations will be recorded and live streamed. The
livestream for 2016 will be on You Tube. Livestream links will be as follows:

Communications Support for the “Greatest Free
Show on Earth”

Mardi Gras is an annual celebration in
New Orleans that’s tied to the Christian tradition of Lent before Easter.
Sixty-four parades with up to 50 floats each are enjoyed by locals and
nearly 1.2 million visitors over the course of 2 weeks leading up to Mardi Gras
day (literally, “Fat Tuesday,” the day before Lent starts on Ash
Wednesday). The multiple daily events of the Mardi Gras celebration have been called
“the world’s largest planned natural disaster.” Eric Pickering, KE5BMU, is
the City’s Deputy Operations Chief in the New Orleans Office of Homeland
Security & Emergency Preparedness (NOHSEP), and his team is responsible for
responding to unplanned events that are real, likely, or feared.

Of course, a communications infrastructure failure is high on the
list of likely disasters that can be mitigated with planning and practice.
And so Pickering began working closely with two local hams, Rafael
Shabetai, W5BAI, and Cedric Walker, K5CFW. Together they re-activated a station in
City Hall that had been built for NOHSEP by Bob McBride, AE5RN (SK) and
began planning for an expansion into the NOHSEP mobile command post bus. The
three had two goals: involving local hams who could serve as the “eyes and
ears” of NOHSEP in a disaster or emergency, and ensuring that a robust
backup communications network was trained and prepared to take over if the
state-wide primary trunked 800 MHz network stopped working.

Because New Orleans residents still vividly remember the wrath of
Hurricane Katrina in 2005, it’s easy to convince them that the goals of operator
preparedness and equipment readiness can mean the difference between life and
death. After Katrina, the trunked public safety network and all cellphone
voice capability shut down. The only

Rafael Shabetai, W5BAI, operating Net Control at the
Mobile Command Post (Photo credit W5BAI)

remaining communications channels were via
ham-operated VHF and UHF repeaters. And so Pickering, Shabetai and Walker decided to
create a repeater-based training exercise, centered around Mardi Gras when
so many residents/hams are out and about and likely to be carrying their H-T
radios anyway.

Of the 64 parades in the New Orleans
area, 29 follow a similar 3.7 mile route down St. Charles Avenue and along
Canal Street in the Central Business District. Three first aid stations along
the route are in operation during the parades, and arrangements were made
to credential ham volunteers to give them access as bases of operations.
Three repeater owners (Southeast Louisiana Emergency Communications Service
W5MCC, Jefferson Amateur Radio Club W5GAD, and the Greater New Orleans
Amateur Radio Club W5UK) granted access to their machines for the duration of
the Mardi Gras exercises. A mobile command post along the route serves the
many city departments that keep the parade route safe and clear. An operating
position in the mobile command post bus was set aside for net control, and
a street sign next to the bus’ parking place served as a convenient
temporary mast for a dual-band vertical antenna. A transceiver from the City Hall
station was temporarily relocated to the mobile command post, but next
year a dedicated transceiver and antenna will be installed.

With operation locations and equipment in place, the team’s next task was
recruiting a cadre of volunteers. Pickering made a successful recruitment
presentation at the W5GAD club meeting. The Assistant Section Emergency
Coordinator Matt Anderson, KD5KNZ, plus ARES Emergency Coordinators for New
Orleans Joel Colman, NO5FD, and neighboring Jefferson Parish Nick Frederick,
W4NDF, all stepped up to recruit operators for both field and net control
positions, and all three volunteered as operators. It was decided to limit
operations to the weekend immediately before Mardi Gras day, and to Mardi
Gras day, as these dates have the biggest parades with the highest
attendance. Ten volunteers participated, and check-ins from other hams along the
parade route added to the numbers compiled by each net control shift. No
emergencies were handled, and we were fortunate that the city’s regular emergency
communication infrastructure did not need a backup.

The ham community demonstrated that it could serve NOHSEP professionally and
reliably. This was the first year of an organized effort to bring hams into
the NOHSEP operation, and it was incomplete because many parades were not
covered. With the success of this year’s demonstration and the goodwill
that was generated, it will be possible to mount a bigger recruitment effort
and provide coverage for more of the 64 parades that make Mardi Gras the
greatest free show on earth. — Cedric F. Walker, K5CFW [The author is
Professor Emeritus, Department of Biomedical Engineering, Tulane

Sawyer County ARES/RACES Receives Donation from Ski Race Foundation

The American Birkebeiner Ski Race, known as the Birkie, is North America’s
largest cross-country ski race. Held in northwest Wisconsin, the race is 33
miles long, starts in Cable, and ends on Main Street in downtown Hayward.
This was the 43rd year for the Birkie and 10,500 skiers came from the US and
Canada, Finland, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Italy, Japan and many other

Eighteen years ago the Birkie Foundation asked
the Amateur Radio community to help with communications along the race course
and amateurs from a five-county area around Hayward in Sawyer County have
been doing it ever since. There are nine medical and nine food stations
along the race course that provide medical help to those who need it, with the
food stations providing power drinks and refreshments to the skiers.
Amateur Radio operators are at these stations to relay information regarding
medical issues (dropouts, injuries, etc.) and food station needs (low on
supplies for skiers, etc.) back to a net control station, which gives the
information to the Birkie office during the event.

This year
the American Birkebeiner Ski Foundation donated $2,500 to the Sawyer County
ARES/RACES group to purchase and maintain two new amateur VHF repeaters in
Sawyer County. With this donation, Sawyer County ARES/RACES is able to
replace two old repeaters and the accessories for them. — Wally Kruk,
N9VAO, Sawyer County ARES/RACES, Wisconsin, Emergency Coordinator

Letters: W1HKJ fldigi Suite’s

Many digital mode operators familiar with flmsgthink of it as a forms
utility for use only with fldigi. However, it’s also a great cross-platform, stand-alone
program. We have used it to prepare and move forms (ICS, radiogram, etc.) within
our EOC by thumb drive, shared drive and mesh network. Our county
officials can put flmsg on their computers and send the files to the radio room
without any need for transcribing or cut and paste. We also send flmsg files
as attachments to email and radio-email messages and they may also be placed
on store-forward bulletin board systems. Additionally, amateurs have been
working with W1HKJ to make the flsmg ICS-213 form FEMA compliant and
completely compatible for use within the National Traffic System (NTS). The text
can be transported within NTS via voice, cw and digital modes using the
standard radiogram format as a “wrapper” for the file. NTS-Digital can also
handle flmsg files as attachments to radiograms. — Steve Hansen, KB1TCE, Knox County
ARES/RACES-CERT, Owl’s Head, Maine

Florida Amateurs Take Part In Severe Weather Awareness

The Lake Amateur Radio Association (LARA) of
Lake County, Florida, and its ARES group were invited to take part in the
county Public Safety Department Emergency Management Division’s Severe Weather
Awareness Day Exposition held at the Lake County Fair Grounds in Eustis,
Florida on Saturday, February 20, 2016.

The purpose of
Severe Weather Awareness Day is to acquaint the citizens of Lake County with
the need to prepare for severe weather events such as hurricanes,
tornadoes, floods or forest fires. The Lake

L to r, Strait Hollis KT4YA, ARRL
Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinato; Al Richter, W4ALR, Lake County
Emergency Coordinato; and Frank Anders KK4MBX, Assistant Emergency
Coordinator for Equipment, were on hand to explain Amateur Radio’s role in disaster
communications, Lake County Severe Weather Awareness Day. (K1AYZ

County Emergency Management
Division invited various disaster relief groups to display their emergency
equipment that could be used in such events.

with the LARA and Lake County ARES organizations, present were other groups
such as the Lake County Sheriff’s Office, Lake Emergency Medical Service,
Lake County Fire Rescue, Southern Baptist-Disaster Relief, Salvation Army, and
the Red Cross. These groups brought had their officials available to
explain their organization’s roles. Tours were also conducted.

LARA had their communication trailer on display along with a booth where
ham volunteers explained their role in assisting professional responders
in the event of an emergency. LARA and Lake County ARES members were glad to
be included by the Lake County Emergency Management Division and be given
the opportunity to tell the general public about their roles in disaster
relief. — Ted Luebbers, K1AYZ, Lake County, Florida ARES PIO

Letters: Mass Alert Systems

Our ARES unit researched various mass notification (alert)
system vendors for a system that would work for us. After two no-cost
trials, we have gone with One Call Now, and their basic pay-as-you-go package for $90
for 1000 “credits” – each notification call or SMS text counts as 1 credit,
so our 70 member ARES group with a total of 122 contact numbers would be
122 credits per notification, giving us eight phone and SMS notifications.

For my first test, I sent Winnipeg ARES Emergency
Coordinators, AECs, PIO and two special tech savvy members (eight in total) an
alert exercise message with request to meet me on the air on a local
repeater. It didn’t work well — I only heard from one of the eight: The recipients
were leery about answering calls from 1-877 numbers. I now have the system
set up to display the “local” number for my ARES pager. For a wider
audience test of Winnipeg ARES members who knew I was looking at a mass
notification system vendor and that I was targeting a specific day for a test (a
provincial holiday in Manitoba), I used the messager to distribute a draft
exercise plan. As a result, for the actual test notification/on-air exercise
net, I heard from half of the Winnipeg ARES membership (many were away for
the long weekend).

A group leader gets a report from the
provider for each notification, and can log in and see a detailed report
of which recipients answered and when they did so. I have made my AECs and
PIO “messengers” so they each have a discrete log-in and can transmit a

This system sure beats our cumbersome,
suboptimal, time-consuming telephone tree fan-out protocol. — Jeff Dovyak ,
VE4MBQ, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada ARES

Boston Marathon Communications Committee Seeks

The Boston Athletic Association
(BAA) begins its Boston Marathon volunteer communications work with the
slogan “Volunteers Run This Event.” Indeed, the Amateur Radio
community has a role in nearly every aspect from Start to Finish. Preparations are
in high gear as Amateur Radio continues to serve in this extraordinary
event — we need you! Each year around 300 communications volunteers organize,
plan, train and serve the BAA, some 30,000 runners, 10,000 volunteers, and
their communities. Registration for Amateur Radio volunteers remains open
with assignments available for new volunteers who have a passion for public
service, and for experienced hands at this longstanding event. Registration is easy and one-stop. For
more information, click here. — Brett Smith, AB1RL, BAA Communications Committee
Volunteer Coordinator

Radiation Drill Supported by Southern Florida ARES

Every two years the St. Lucie (Florida) Nuclear Power Plant is required to
hold an exercise that is chiefly evaluated by the Federal Emergency
Management Agency (FEMA) and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC). The purpose
of these exercises is to test and evaluate the responses of plant
personnel, law enforcement agencies, emergency management officials, and
communications personnel. This year, the exercise took place on February 24. The
scenario involved overloaded communication systems normally used by the public,
rendering them unusable. ARES would provide radio communications among the
county EOCs and other critical assets/support locations.

ARES teams came and participated from St. Lucie, Palm Beach, Martin,
Indian River, and Brevard counties. Operators successfully employed the UHF
repeater-based Statewide Amateur Radio Network (SARnet) for most communications as well as
an HF net on 7.245 MHz. The dual nets backed each other up for
redundancy/reliability for the ARES mission of supporting each of the EOCs.

SARnet is a network of linked UHF voice repeaters that serves the
State of Florida. The state Department of Transportation (DOT) network
that connects these amateur repeaters is a stand-alone carrier class microwave
network. The use of this dedicated bandwidth provides a network much more
likely to remain operational during a severe weather event like a

All ARES communications tests and requirements were
successfully passed and met, with the use of the dual nets for backup
capability being noted and praised by the evaluators. Martin County ARES also
had a display of Go-Kits that illustrated what they do upon activation. It
drew a good audience and plenty of questions from the responders. The FEMA
representative visited ARES EC Steve Marshall, WW4RX, who discussed the kits
and answered questions about SARnet and a map of its coverage and
implications for its usage.

The excellent performance of these
county ARES teams could not have been possible without the leadership and
efforts of their county ECs, their respective net control operators, all
other ARES operators and their assistants, and their respective county
Emergency Management personnel. Thanks also go to the other amateur operators who
kept the SARnet and HF frequencies clear for the duration of the exercise.
— George P. Geran, KK4AXV, Brevard County Assistant EC; Willie Thompson,
KB5FKG, Indian River County Assistant EC; Steve Marshall, WW4RX, Martin
County EC; Charles Benn, WB2SNN, Palm Beach County District EC; and Steve
Lowman, N4SGL, St. Lucie County EC

Tech Tips: Crimping Tools

A few years ago
when Powerpoles started to emerge as the standard
connector for ARES and RACES applications, it was time for me to change out
my Molex connectors. Having no initial success in finding a die set for my
Paladin CrimpALL tool, I noticed that DX
Engineering was not only selling a crimp tool, but also individual die sets
for PowerPoles, RG-8, RG8X and uninsulated and insulated wire connectors.
After an exchange of e-mails with DX Engineering staff, I ordered the
PowerPole die set. DX Engineering was not sure if it would fit my crimp tool but
offered to accept its return if it did not. Eureka — it fit perfectly as if
Greenlee manufactured it! Subsequently, I purchased the RG-8 and RG-8X die
sets for UHF and BNC connectors.

If any readers owns a
Paladin/Greenlee 8000 series CrimpALL tool, they can be safe in
ordering the dies discussed above from DX Engineering. I am in no way connected
with DX Engineering, just a satisfied customer.– Joseph Walc, W4EEI,
Asheville, North Carolina

Letters: Solar Panels

When looking at solar
panels, there are three basic technologies: Amorphous, Poly-Crystalline, and
Mono-Crystalline. Amorphous panels are common for small panels because they
are inexpensive and can be cut to any size, but they wear out more quickly
and/or not very efficient. They are usually a deep brown color. I recommend
avoiding them. Poly-Crystalline is a good technology and should be the
minimum acceptable.They are typically bluish tint and usually have a fractured
pattern. Mono-Crystalline are the best. They last a very long time and have
the best efficiency.These typically look black and usually have cells that
look like rectangles with two clipped corners. There are some flexible
panels, but their efficiency is usually not very good. For my heavy deployable
go-kit, I use a solar package similar to the USA STOCK
100 watt 12 volt Folding Solar Panel with one or two 50 Ah batteries,
depending on the circumstances. — John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, Pikes
Peak (Colorado) ARES

Maryland-DC ARES Statewide ARDF/SAR for Missing Person

The mission presented to ARRL Maryland-DC Section ARES: Find a radio
beacon and save a life. It started on Friday, February 26, when an autistic
adult was discovered missing. By Sunday, Section Manager Marty Pittinger,
KB3MXM, and SEC Jim Montgomery, WB3KAS, received an e-mail from Joe Cotton,
W3TTT, explaining the serious situation: “I was called last night by a member
of the Northwest Citizen’s
Patrol, a partner with Project Lifesaver. An autistic man was discovered missing
by his caretaker on Friday morning, two days ago.” Cotton asked Pittinger
and Montgomery if their organization had the means to locate a Project
Lifesaver radio beacon leg bracelet, issued to incapacitated adults for rapid
location, response and safe return. The local Project Lifesavers
point-of-contact in Baltimore needed help.

Pittinger, Montgomery
and Cotton, with the CEO of Project Lifesaver, coordinated action using
brief e-mail correspondence and telephone chats to define search criteria and
share technical information. Contact was also made with local law
enforcement agencies handling the missing-person case in order to set a
protocol/format for Amateur Radio operators reporting to the police departments.

ARRL Atlantic Division Director Tom Abernethy, W3TOM, was
consulted and a plan was created and coordinated to handle this rather unique
request. Section officials contacted local clubs to secure phase doppler radio
direction finder equipment, and acquired the beacon frequency, radio range, and
tone signatures. The goal was to activate the entire Maryland-DC Section’s
ARES statewide to perform a QTH-QTV (“stand guard,” or listen on
frequency) from every Amateur Radio operator’s home station to detect
the beacon and relay its location to local police. Amateur Radio mobile
assets might be needed to determine the beacon’s precise location.

Once permission to activate was secured, Section Manager
Pittinger issued an “Activation Announcement” to SEC Montgomery, who alerted and
activated all ARES members to initiate the search plan/protocol. Pittinger
then informed Project Lifesaver coordinators and police that the state-wide
ARDF search was underway.

The Maryland Port Authority
identified the missing autistic man at Baltimore Washington International
Airport, and MDC ARES was told to stand down.

Pittinger concluded “We were grateful to learn that the missing
man was located and that we were given the opportunity to assist in a
massive safety of life search.” He said “Our knowledge, experience, agility and
huge presence across Maryland and the District of Columbia show our ability
to serve multiple agencies and organizations jointly, seamlessly and
rapidly as an organized team.” — ARRL Maryland-DC Section


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The ARES E-Letter for February 17, 2016


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

February 17,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This Issue:


New ARRL/Red Cross MoU Signed

ARES Report Forms Training Webinar

Colorado Exercise DEEP FREEZE

Ohio ARES® Helps in Water Problem

Tips: Public Safety Tools — Excellent Resources
for ARES

Essay: I Don’t Get No Respect

Letters: More Tips for Net Controllers

Model Emergency Communication Plan for a Retirement

Wind Storm Damages San Diego/Baja Amateur High
Speed Data Facilities

ARES® Briefs, Links

IARU President Touts Amateur Radio’s
Relevance in Emergency Communication (2/8/2016); Ohio SEC Hoping to Expand “NVIS Antenna Day” Activity this
Year (1/29/2016); FEMA Issues Call for Youth
Council Members (1/29/2016); ARES® Volunteers Help to Distribute Water in Ohio
Community with Lead-Tainted Water (1/28/2016); ARES® Volunteers Support Major Flood Responses (1/27/2016); Hams Turn Out to Help as Massive
Snowfall Stuns Several States (1/25/2016)

Noah Goldstein,
KB1VWZ, operates the WX1BOX station at the NWS office, Taunton,
Massachusetts for the Blizzard of 2016. (photo courtesy Rob Macedo, KD1CY)

ARES/Media Hits

ARES® in Emergency Management Magazine

Ken Reid, KG4USN, wrote an excellent article, published in Emergency
Management magazine online on the subject of how emergency management
agencies can work with ARES® groups. Read the article here.

and High Def TV News

Colorado Section Manager Jack
Ciaccia, WM0G, reported an article in TV Technology News on radio
amateurs involvement in High Definition TV experimentation used in ARES. Read
the article here.

New ARRL/Red Cross MoU

The ARRL and the American Red Cross have signed
a new Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The
document, signed in January, succeeds one agreed to in 2010; it will remain in
place for the next 5 years. The MoU spells out how League Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) volunteers will interface with the Red Cross in the
event that ARES teams are asked by the Red Cross to assist in a disaster or
emergency response.

“Whenever there is a disaster
requiring the use of Amateur Radio communications resources and/or facilities, the
local Red Cross region or chapter may request the assistance of the local
ARES organization responsible for the jurisdiction of the scene of the
disaster,” the MoU provides. Such assistance would include mobilization of ARES
personnel in accordance with a prearranged plan, and the establishment of
communication as necessary during a disaster or emergency. “Both ARRL volunteers
and American Red Cross workers will work cooperatively at the scene of a
disaster and in the disaster recovery, within the scope of their respective
roles and duties” within the scope of the MoU, the agreement says.

Generally, the MoU sets the parameters of the partnership between the ARRL
and the Red Cross to provide assistance to communities affected by
disasters. It calls upon both organizations to encourage and maintain open lines of
communication at the state and local levels, sharing current data regarding
disasters, situational and operational reports, changes in policy or
personnel, and any information pertaining to disaster preparedness, response,
and recovery.

For its part, the League will encourage
ARES units to engage in discussions with local Red Cross entities to develop
plans for local response or disaster relief operations. The Red Cross will
encourage its field units to engage in discussions with the ARRL Field
Organization to develop plans for local response or disaster relief.

Facilitating this is a Statement of Cooperation to provide methods of
cooperation between the two organizations on the local level in providing
services to communities during or after a disaster event, “as well as other
services for which cooperation may be mutually beneficial.” The ARRL
signatory is either the appropriate ARRL Section Manager or Section Emergency

The new MoU also clarifies that ARES volunteers
assisting the Red Cross but not registered as Red Cross volunteers do not have
to undergo a prior background check. Radio amateurs who register as Red
Cross volunteers, though, must abide by the Red Cross’s background check

Then-ARRL President Kay Craigie, N3KN, signed
the MoU on behalf of the League on January 7, while ARC Senior Vice
President-Disaster Cycle Services Richard Reed, signed for the American Red Cross on
January 22. — ARRL

ARES Report Forms Training Webinar

ARRL Headquarters will be offering a training session for ARES Emergency
Coordinators, District Emergency Coordinators and Section Emergency
Coordinators on how ARES report forms are filled out, submitted and how the
information is used. The training webinar will be Tuesday March 1, 2016 at 8pm
Eastern Time. You may register for the webinar here.
The webinar will be recorded and made available online. All EC’s, DEC’s and
SEC’s are encouraged to participate. — Mike Corey, KI1U, ARRL Emergency
Preparedness Manager.

Colorado Exercise DEEP FREEZE

is no stranger to snow. In October 1997 a devastating blizzard hit the state
resulting in several deaths, many stranded motorists, and more people in
need of help. On Saturday, January 9, 2016, the El Paso County Office of
Emergency Management (OEM) held exercise DEEP FREEZE ’16 in conjunction with
the Colorado National Guard, American Red Cross, Salvation Army, and other
agencies to practice a response to an October ’97 type of event.

At the invitation of the Red Cross, operators from Region 2,
District 2 (Pikes Peak ARES®) of the Colorado Section Amateur Radio
Emergency Service® set up alternate communications between the Red Cross
shelter and the county Emergency Operation Center (EOC). Two Pikes Peak
ARES® members were dual hatted as county Special Communication Unit
personnel and manned the radios in the EOC while another ARES® member worked
at the shelter.

Using VHF/FM radios these operators
established simplex voice and

John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, prepares to
send a digital message. (photo courtesy KD0SFY)

data communication and demonstrated to the shelter
manager, Red Cross EOC liaison, and the OEM the ability to digitally pass
Incident Command System forms such as the ICS-213.

digital messaging capability is a tremendous tool and using it in the
exercise helped me learn how best to work it in with our liaison training”, said
Jimmy Jenkins, the Red Cross EOC liaison for the exercise.

Participating in the exercise were Fred Kendall, KD0TKR; Bob Nuttleman,
K0FYI; and John Bloodgood, KD0SFY. More photos can be found here. See also
Twitter hashtag #deepfreeze16 — John Bloodgood, KD0SFY, EC and PIO

The ARES E-Letter for January 20, 2016


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

January 20,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This Issue:


Answering The Call To Serve In Historic Missouri Flooding

ARES® Supports Major Flood Response in Pacific

GlobalSET 2015 is a Wrap, with Lessons

West Central Florida ARES/ACS Group Learns in

Winter Field Day at End of Month

Northern Indiana Hams Activate NWS Office for
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day

Letters: HOA Embraces Amateur Radio for

Tips for Beginning Net Control Operators

Sacramento EC Recognized for Past Service

See Something, Say Something

ARES in 2015

ARES Briefs, Links

First Geosynchronous
Orbit Amateur Radio Payload Could Aid Disaster Communication
(12/24/2015) — AMSAT figure and Virginia Tech researcher Bob McGwier, N4HY, reports
the Amateur Radio payload planned to go into geosynchronous orbit in 2017
will be like “a new ham band” for the Americas, available every hour of every
day. McGwier said the satellite’s geosynchronous orbit also makes it
viable for emergency and disaster communication. AMSAT-NA announced in
April that Amateur Radio would be a “hosted payload” on the geosynchronous
satellite that Millennium Space Systems (MSS) of California is under
contract to design, launch, and operate for the US government. More here.


Answering The Call To Serve In Historic Missouri Flooding

Amateur Radio operators put their skills to work during historic flooding
in the greater St. Louis area earlier this month. ARES® volunteers
from three counties contributed extensive time, talent and equipment to
emergency efforts. According to Bill Grimsbo, N0PNP, District C Emergency
Coordinator, “More than one hundred and seventy hours of volunteer service on the
part of Amateur Radio volunteers working with response agencies were
invested in District C during this emergency. These people commit their personal
time as well as working regular hours at jobs that represent a cross
section of America’s workforce for the greater good of the community.”

[According to the National Weather Service, a prolonged period
of rainfall occurred from December 26 to December 28, with the heaviest
rainfall occurring in a 50 to 75 mile wide swath from southwest Missouri
through the Greater St. Louis Metropolitan area and into central Illinois. Storm
total rainfall for this range was six to 12 inches. The heavy rainfall led
to life threatening flash flooding and historic river flooding. The rain in
this event capped off the wettest year on record for St. Louis at 61.24″.
(The old record was 57.96″ in 2008). – ed.]

More than
26 radio amateurs from St. Louis Metro ARES, St. Charles County ARES,
Illinois Section ARES, and St. Louis and suburban radio club members worked with
the American Red Cross in serving in excess of 19,400 meals and
coordinating more than 640 overnight stays. ARES and club operators were asked to help
coordinate communications among shelters in four counties and Red Cross
headquarters. On average, the volunteers worked six to eight hour shifts
using personal radio equipment while employing local repeaters maintained by
area radio clubs to pass messages. They worked with shelter staff to fulfill
the needs of hundreds displaced by severe flooding in the St. Louis area.

Much of the radio traffic was handled on a repeater
maintained by the Monsanto Amateur Radio Association, a repeater that had been
damaged by a lightning strike in August. Repairs were completed just weeks
prior to the onset of flooding in the area.

Amateur Radio operators in the greater St. Louis area have

Christopher Barber, WX5CW, remotely configuring repeaters to link via the Internet.
Jim Hart, KD0EUX, (standing) and Bob Rowland, K0RWR, operating at the Red
Cross HQ. (photo courtesy N0MTI)

knowledge and equipment to connect any agency to another when in
times of need,” Steve Wooten, KC0QMU, St. Louis Metro ARES Emergency
Coordinator said. “We can set up and be connected within an hour of responding to
the call for assistance.”

St. Charles County Division of
Emergency Management also called on ARES in that county to execute road
closure reconnaissance for emergency services. Volunteers also performed
“windshield” damage assessments where they drove by hundreds of homes, surveying
them for minor to catastrophic damage.

In a
demonstration of solidarity in this disaster, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve County
ARES organizations worked together, assisting the Ste. Genevieve County
Emergency Management Agency with 24 hour walks to assess the condition of the
critical levees that protect lives and property in Ste. Genevieve County.

More than 20 people died in the historic flooding.
Hundreds were displaced from their homes as rivers, streams and lakes overflowed
banks and levees. Wastewater treatment facilities were overwhelmed and
some drinking water treatment facilities were shut down. President Obama
issued a Federal Disaster Declaration and the Federal Highway Administration
pledged $1 million for emergency highway repairs. — Janelle Haible, N0MTI,
St. Louis (Missouri) Metro ARES, Public Information Officer

ARES® Supports Major Flood
Response in Pacific Northwest

Once again, the Centralia
area in southwest Washington State was on Mother Nature’s target list for
December rains and local flooding. The week of December 2-8 brought
continuous rain to the Pacific Northwest with very heavy rains on Monday, December
7th. Three major rivers — the Chehalis, the Skookumchuck and the Newaukum
— quickly reached flood stage. The City of Centralia opened its Emergency
Operations Center (EOC) on Tuesday, December 9, to get ahead of the
potentially devastating flood waters. By 5 PM Tuesday, the Centralia ARES team was
activated on a 24 hour basis. During hours of darkness, team members
monitored the EOC Amateur Radio systems and helped set up the remainder of the
EOC for a full scale response on Wednesday.

During the
early morning hours of Wednesday, December 9th, two local creeks — China
Creek and Salzer Creek — overflowed their banks and inundated the Centralia
downtown area with water, before the major rivers had reached flood stage.
As a result of the Incident Action Plan issued at 8 AM Wednesday, ARES

Flooding in southwestern Washington State prompted ARES
response. (KD7OWN photo)

members began the second phase of their response duties, performing “windshield
surveys” to determine the extent and depth of water in each residential
area in the city. Additionally, teams monitored selected high water points to
provide eyes on the scene information on how fast flood waters were rising.
Throughout the day, hams reported conditions block by block, response area
by response area to the EOC and Incident Commanders.

Late in the day on Wednesday, the area caught a break when the rains slowed
and then stopped. By late Wednesday evening, even though the rivers were
still climbing to flood stage, emergency managers could breathe a sigh of
relief as it was clear the local flooding was not going to be the disaster
we’ve experienced before when Interstate 5 was closed for days due to water
over its roadway. Area wide, several dangerous landslides occurred and the
Hwy 12 over White Pass to Eastern Washington was closed as the road was
washed away in four locations. This pass will potentially remain closed for
weeks or even months as snow on the pass hinders roadway repairs.

In all, the ARES team deployed 75% of its members totaling just over
70 volunteer hours for the community. Each flood is different from the
last. Centralia ARES has worked through four major floods since 2007 and with
localized flooding almost every November or December. The ARES team
continues to refine its response techniques, drill on flood responses and work
with its served agencies to shape the way it provides disaster information to
the EOC. Flexibility has allowed the ARES team to be useful in several
different directions as we continue to serve our small community. — Bob
Willey, KD7OWN, Emergency Coordinator, Centralia Amateur Radio Emergency

2015 is a Wrap, with Lessons Learned

More than
three dozen countries took part in the 2015 Global Simulated Emergency Test
(GlobalSET) last month, organized by IARU Region 1 and designed in part to measure the disaster
readiness of Amateur Radio. IARU Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator
Greg Mossop, G0DUB, pointed out that the 2015 event differed from other
GlobalSETs held since 2006, which emphasized message handling and setting up
stations in the field.

“The IARU emergency
communications coordinators decided that the best way to achieve this would be to have
an availability or ‘call-out’ exercise,” Mossop said. “It asked all
countries with emergency communications groups to contact their members and ask
them how quickly they could get on the air if required.” The start of the
exercise was not announced in advance but propagated via a variety of
channels, including e-mail and social media. IARU regional coordinators chose
December 18 as being clear of most social and cultural events. A time limit of
up to 48 hours was set for potential responding organizations to complete
the local callout exercise and submit results via a web form.

The survey results covered an estimated 8466 members worldwide, of
which 2048 reported they could be available in less than 1 hour.

“This exercise occurred on a normal business day in many countries,”
Mossop said. “An availability rate of 20-30 percent of stations is very
good and does seem reasonable as a planning assumption for future

Mossop said the exercise identified a need to revise
or improve alerting procedures. “Where possible a mixture of methods should
be used for alerting members with automatic feedback of message delivery or
the response,” he said, adding that reliance on any single system, such as
e-mail, was not the best approach. Read more. — Thanks to Jim Linton, VK3PC; ARRL Letter

West Central Florida ARES/ACS Group Learns in

Largo, Florida – Private
citizens, amateur operators and CERT team members gathered last month at the new
Pinellas County EOC for a SKYWARN training class. Pinellas County is west of
Tampa, Florida, with a population of almost a million, exposed to severe
tropical weather on the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Its county seat is
Clearwater, and its largest city is St. Petersburg. The class was hosted by the
Pinellas County ACS/ARES unit, along with their sponsoring agency, the
Pinellas County Emergency Management agency. The Pinellas County ARES and ACS
(Auxiliary Communications Service) are comprised of Amateur Radio operators
who provide support to government and other agencies as needed.

The class boasted 100 attendees, and was taught by Dan Noah, NOAA
Warning Coordination Meteorologist at the Ruskin, Florida National Weather
Service office. The class was welcomed to the new Pinellas County EOC by
Emergency Manager Sally Bishop, who said in part, “This effort on the part
of our ACS group netted the largest Spotter training class that Ruskin
National Weather Service has ever had. We are grateful for the community service
provided by the Spotters as it is a vital piece of the process that takes
place between the Weather Service and Emergency Management to ensure the
community is warned and as ready as possible for weather events.”

Noah said “SKYWARN is a program sponsored by your National Weather
Service (NWS) consisting of trained weather spotters who provide reports
of hazardous weather to help in the warning process. SKYWARN spotter reports
provide vital ‘ground truth’ to the NWS. These reports serve the NWS
mission of protecting life and property from the adverse impacts of severe
weather. Each year our Spotters donate their time and/or equipment to help the
NWS in the severe weather warning process.”

Parrott, KJ4RUS, Pinellas County ARES/ACS Radio Officer and Emergency
Coordinator said “We are helping our citizens become more aware of weather related
events such as tornados, lightning, and now the threat of El Nino by
providing them with preparedness tools such as this SKYWARN training. In doing
this, we help them to be better prepared for severe weather related events in
their communities.”

There are no prerequisites to
become a SKYWARN spotter, but spotters must be 18 years of age or older to
receive a SKYWARN certification and a spotter ID number.

Training included what to look for when reporting weather, what to report, how
to estimate hail size, wind speed and the format to use, i.e., “TEL,”
which means Time, Event, Location. Since El Nino will be a major weather factor
weather for the next few months, Noah detailed some of the added risks for

When asked about the effect of El Nino on
weather in Florida, Noah replied “El Nino, the warming of the waters in the
tropical Pacific, naturally occurs every 2 to 7 years. During an El Nino,
Florida has an increased risk of severe weather and flooding from January
through April as the upper level jet stream changes its path from north of
Florida to crossing central Florida. This allows environmental conditions to
become more favorable for severe weather more often. There will be about
seven or so nights this winter and spring where people will want to pay extra
attention to the weather as it moves through their area.” Noah suggested
having multiple ways to receive tornado warnings, including NOAA Weather Radio
and smart phone Apps. — Kevin Poorman, KC4VT, Public Information
Officer, Pinellas County, Florida, ARES/ACS Public Service

Winter Field
Day at End of Month

Winter Field Day is
held annually on the last full weekend of January. This month, it will be
held January 30-31, 1700Z-1700Z. The Winter Field Day Association (WFDA) is a
group of amateurs who sponsor this event. From their website, they believe
that emergency communications skills, practice and training in a winter
environment is as important as the preparations and exercising performed in
the more benign seasons. Winter conditions pose special environmental
challenges to operators in the field. WFDA’s stated goal is to “help enhance your
skills and ready you for all environmental conditions found in the US and
Canada during the spring, summer, fall, and winter.” For rules, click
here. Contact WFDA here. — Winter Field Day Association

Northern Indiana Hams Activate NWS Office for
SKYWARN™ Recognition Day

Fourteen operators from
various northern Indiana Amateur Radio clubs collaborated to activate the
National Weather Service office in North Webster for the 17th annual SKYWARN
Recognition Day (SRD) on December 5, 2015. When Michael Lewis, Warning
Coordination Meteorologist for the Northern Indiana NWS office, asked for a radio
club to organize the event, the Fort Wayne Radio Club accepted the task.
Jim Moehring, KB9WWM, District 3 ARES DEC, served as the point of contact for
volunteers to register. For security purposes at the NWS office, all
volunteer operators were required to pre-register for operating time slots to
gain access to the facility.

Setup began at 2030 UTC on
December 4. The set up team installed a custom made bracket to one of the
parking lot light poles, which served as the common mounting point for three
end-fed antenna matching boxes. The end-fed antennas have demonstrated
their effectiveness and ease of installation in several other field operations.
20-meter and 40-meter tuned end-fed wires were stretched to conveniently
located 30 foot tall light poles. Ropes were lifted over the light poles
using an extended painter’s pole. This avoided the hassles that are associated
with air cannons and slingshot projectiles for such placements. A
multiband Chameleon EMCOMM II end-fed
antenna was placed over a third light pole using the same technique. A
dual-band aluminum J-pole was placed 20 feet in the air on a telescoping aluminum
mast mounted in a heavy-duty tripod base. Coax was run from the four
antennas to a 4″ diameter pipe pass-through in the wall of the NWS office
directly into the operations conference room.

The entire four
antenna setup was completed before dusk at 2215 UTC. Three HF stations and
one VHF station were quickly connected to the coax with time to spare
before the 0000 UTC December 5 SKYWARN Recognition Day start time. The Northern
Indiana NWS was activated for the full 24 hour period of the event. HF
propagation ebbed and flowed during the event, but didn’t dampen the spirit of
the operators. Many contacts were made using IRLP via the K9DEW repeater
outside Warsaw. The repeater owner/trustee, Dewey Thrasher, K9DEW,
graciously permitted extended operation on his 145.13 MHz repeater IRLP node. Many
NWS offices were connected to the IRLP Eastern Reflector during the event.

The final QSO count of 181 total contacts included 46
other NWS offices. Some offices were contacted on multiple bands.
Approximately 2/3 of the QSOs were with individual hams not affiliated with NWS

The Northern Indiana NWS SKYWARN Recognition Day
operation succeeded with both goals: (1) Demonstrate communications continuity
between NWS offices when usual means are overloaded or non-functioning in
a disaster; and (2) Promote goodwill and positive public relations between
amateur operators and the National Weather Service. Following the event,
Michael Lewis sent congratulations to all the operators who supported the
Northern Indiana operation along with a certificate of appreciation from the
NWS. – ARRL Indiana Section Newsletter, December 2015

Letters: HOA Embraces Amateur
Radio for Emergencies

A new club has formed in
Gainesville, Virginia — the Heritage Hunt Hams. Heritage Hunt is a gated, 55
plus community of 1800 homes near the intersection of Highway 66 and
Highway 29, about 30 miles west of Washington DC. Two dozen amateurs participate
in an annual emergency exercise for the community. Eighty trained emergency
volunteers (many of whom are doctors, nurses, firemen, policemen, and
military officers) participate in the same exercise. The hams are the primary
source of communication. The HOA has purchased radios, power supplies and 2
meter/440 MHz antennas for four locations, supported by emergency power.
The group’s amateurs offer support to the Prince William ARES organization
for emergencies at the western end of the county. — Dr. Tim Tatum,
K6SLK/4, Gainesville, Virginia

Tips for Beginning Net Control Operators

Here in
northwest Ohio, we have acquired many new hams and encourage them to
operate as net control station (NCS) for various routine nets to gain them
experience, providing us with a pool of competent net controllers in the event of
an emergency/disaster. Here are some of the basic tips we convey to our
novice net control stations for a smoothly running net:

· Get a glass of water or something to drink.

· Make yourself comfortable. Sit in a good location with plenty of room
on a desk or table to write.

· Have a good writing
instrument and a back-up along with an extra piece of paper in case you
need to jot down notes.

· Take your time; go at your
own pace. Remember, you are in control of the net and the frequency.

· Don’t worry about making mistakes; there are no
mistakes to be made.

· To handle the crowd that is
trying to check in, you will develop your own way.

Stop stations from checking in (“Let’s hold it for a minute”) until you are
caught up.

· Weak stations and stations who give
their call signs too fast, are always a problem — skip them at first. Go
back later for repeats.

· Write your log as you see
fit. You are the one that has to read it.

Headphones are a good idea — they help you focus on what you are hearing and
help keep you from getting distracted.

As I mentioned
before, there are no mistakes, only experience. When you’ve finished the net
that is what you will have. — Steve Bellner, W8TER, Maumee, Ohio

Sacramento EC Recognized for
Past Service

At the January 9, 2016, Sacramento
County (California) ARES Training Class held at Metro Fire District Station
106, past Sacramento County ARES Emergency Coordinator John Staples, KI6ZWW,
received a plaque “in appreciation for all of his time and hard work spent
to improve Sacramento County ARES and RACES during 2012-2015.” District 3 EC
Greg Kruckewitt, KG6SJT, and Sacramento County Assistant EC Vince
Cracchiolo, KI6NHP, presented the award on behalf of all members of Sacramento
County ARES/RACES and the Sacramento County Office of Emergency Services.

Sacramento County ARES officials held its first training
meeting for 2016 on January 9, at the Metro Fire Training Center Station 106
in Sacramento. Training was based on an Emergency Communications course,
which is part of the Disaster Deployment Core Training. For more information,
and course materials, click here. — ARRL Sacramento Section News

See Something, Say Something

Amateur Radio plays a significant role in communication before, during and
after local crisis but we are always communicating so we may be the
first to see and hear things of a suspicious nature. The nature of our
community outreaches and partnerships allow us to quickly communicate as a
team. Let’s help keep our nation safe and secure by keeping a watchful eye and
ear for potential threats. Find additional information on the Homeland
Security website at and
contact local law enforcement authorities directly to report suspicious
activities. To learn more about identifying suspicious activities, see the DHS
website. Be Safe and Help Protect Our Safety. – ARRL Maryland-DC Section


Based on reports submitted by ARRL Section Emergency
Coordinators, with 33 out of 71 sections reporting in, here’s what we know about
the state of ARES in 2015:

Total ARES Members:
2015 — 17,756 2014 — 10,471

The ARES E-Letter for December 16, 2015


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

December 16,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This Issue:


Pennsylvania Amateurs
Support FEMA Emergency Management Course Exercise

Western Washington Amateurs Activated for

Bio Shield 2015
: Martin County (Florida) ARES Drills on Biological Attack

Public Service Communications: Know, Communicate,
and Maintain the Boundaries

Letters: “What You Are Not”

South Carolina Flooding: Notes from the Section

Group Publishes On-Line Video Library for Disaster
Response Training

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR)

Public Service: ARES Supports Ultra Marathon in
Florida Panhandle

Boston Marathon Communications Committee Seeks
Skilled Amateurs for Technical Infrastructure Assistance

Department of Homeland Security’s Office of
Emergency Communications to Provide AUXCOMM Training in Conjunction with Orlando’s
HamCation® 2016

K1CE For a Final

ARES Briefs, Links

GlobalSET 2015 Worldwide
Preparedness Exercise to Focus on Organization (12/9/2015); ARRL International Humanitarian Award
Nominations Due by December 31 (12/9/2015); Radio Amateurs Respond to “Grim” Flood Situation in Southern
India (12/4/2015); MARS-Amateur Radio
Exercise an Overall Success (11/27/2015)

Pennsylvania Amateurs Support FEMA Emergency Management Course

Over the last three years the South Central
(Pennsylvania) Task Force Amateur Radio Working Group (SCTF-ARWG) has
provided radio communications support for the Integrated Emergency Management Course
(IEMC) held at the FEMA Emergency Management Institute (EMI) campus in
Emmitsburg, Maryland. The ARWG is a cooperative organization of Amateur Radio
groups and individuals involved with emergency communications in the eight
county region of Pennsylvania. The group, through its Hospital Emergency
Amateur Radio Service (HEARS), also supports emergency communications
functions for healthcare facilities in the region. It is charged with
coordinating activities and interoperability among Amateur Radio communication assets
and organizations. The ARWG participates with ARES® and the Radio
Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES).

“For the IEMC
exercise portion, we typically have a voice/data VHF/UHF station in the IEMC’s
sim cell and each of the simulated EOCs,” reports ARWG chairman Don
Schmitt, K3DCS. “Our task is to pass exercise injects and handle response
messages during a simulated total outage of EOC power, telephone and public
safety communications.” “Messages are passed using both voice and data
modes (fldigi) over
amateur service frequencies.”

communications team has participated in this FEMA program with visiting emergency
managers and personnel from counties and cities in Florida, Utah and Alabama.
“Our team is requested to assist when the visiting emergency management
agency (EMA) has a RACES, ARES or ACS group integrated with their

In a
simulated EOC for the FEMA Integrated Emergency Management Course exercise, l
to r, Alan Fleckler, KB3TOZ, and Brian Koenig, K3BMK, both of Adams
County, Pennsylvania. (photo courtesy K3DCS)

staff representatives,” said Schmitt. Recently, when a
Calhoun County, Alabama EMA brought ARES members along to support exercise
communications at the simulated EOCs, members of the ARWG team who are also ARES
members (from Adams and York counties, Pennsylvania) assisted them.
Pennsylvania state EMA (PEMA) ACS Coordinator Susan Singer, KB3KDC, observes and
participates with the SCTF-ARWG team.

communications team is honored to be asked to regularly support FEMA EMI with the
IEMC program,” Schmitt said. “Over the years of participation the team has
learned a lot working with FEMA EMI staff and each of the participating
county/city agencies. The hot wash report from FEMA EMI continually gives high
marks to the Amateur Radio group. Frequently, participating EMA groups
state that they didn’t fully realize how valuable Amateur Radio could be to
their emergency operations and planning.” – [Don Schmitt, K3DCS, is chairman,
Pennsylvania SCTF-Amateur Radio Working Group, Auxiliary Communications
Officer, Adams County Department of Emergency Services; and ARRL ARES
Emergency Coordinator, Adams County, PA]

Western Washington Amateurs Activated for Landslide

In the afternoon of Wednesday, December 9th, the northbound lanes of
Interstate 5, a major transportation route along the West coast, were
blocked by a landslide at mile post 23, just north of Woodland, Washington.
Boulders the size of small trucks, mud, and trees invaded all three traffic
lanes. Mother Nature did an excellent job of picking a slide location that
would create the most chaos as there are no alternate routes in the area, and
another slide blocked US Hwy 30 just across the Columbia River in Oregon.

Woodland, a tiny community of less than
5,800 residents located at the southern tip of Cowlitz County, was inundated by
thousands of unexpected cars and trucks taking exits 21 and 22. Emergency
Coordinator Randy Greeley, NU7D put out a heads up email on Wednesday
evening, and the Cowlitz County Department of Emergency Management, led by
professional Emergency Manager Ernie Schnabler, KB7YPU, activated the ARES
portion of its ACS volunteer group on Thursday morning, December 10th.

Handling the coordination at Woodland was the Mayor of Woodland,
Grover Laseke, KG7O, and Clark County ARES Team 1 Leader Randy Walter,
K7LNR. Two shelters were opened for motorists, one by the Red Cross at Grace
Community Church on the east side of the freeway, and one at Woodland High
School on the west side of the freeway. Walter reported that “Woodland High
School canceled school for the day and opened its facilities to stranded
travelers with support from its staff.” Both shelters, Woodland City Hall,
and the Washington State Department of Transportation (at the scene of the
slide) were supported by Amateur Radio communications.

Two VHF repeaters owned by the Lower Columbia Amateur Radio Association were used to facilitate the
amateur response. The City of Woodland produced two sets of situation update
flyers for posting at local businesses on both sides of the freeway, and
the second set was distributed by Dave Bunch, KF7MJQ, and Walter. Other radio
amateurs providing communications assistance to the Woodland landslide
incident were Bill Czarnecki, KF7ZAT, Carl Gray, K7ECW, Cecil Woolfe, KE7UAN,
Colleen Greeley, KB7AYY, Darin Hokanson, KD7TJR, Gordon Spalding, WA6TTR,
Jeff Edgecomb, KB7PMO, Jeff Hillendahl, KJ6ETR, Kie Ludwig, KD7UQR, Phil
Vanderschaegen, KF7SJK, Ray Blanke, KC7MRM, and Stan Mourning, KF7CVR.

One element of the response that could have been improved
from the perspective of the stranded motorists was the (non-amateur)
communications between Washington and Oregon. Because of the slides on two parallel
north-south highways at the same time, northbound motorists on US Hwy 30 in
Oregon were redirected to I-5 in Washington, and northbound motorists on
I-5 in Washington were redirected to US Hwy 30 in Oregon.

Two of the three lanes of northbound I-5 were re-opened in the evening on
Thursday, December 10th, after a closure of approximately 28 hours, and
the Amateur Radio communications support teams were released. Radio amateurs
contributed 163.5 hours and drove 368 miles. — Steve Aberle, WA7PTM,
ARRL Official Emergency Station (OES), ARRL Western Washington Section

Bio Shield 2015: Martin
County (Florida) ARES Drills on Biological Attack

“This is a drill, this is only a drill,” began Martin County (Florida)
ARES’ participation in Bio Shield 2015, an exercise that
saw teams from the Florida Department of Health in Martin County and local,
state and federal partners involved in a preparedness drill to test
emergency response. The exercise was held November 3-4, following an air show,
which also had ARES participation, in Stuart, a small town on the lower east
coast of the Florida peninsula.

Soon after the air show
ended and pursuant to the exercise scenario, a body was found in a remote
airport hangar. According to the scenario, it was determined that the
victim had died from the effects of a biological weapon. Other “victims” in the
area were showing signs of distress. Thus began the coordinated emergency
training drill for Martin County, a three day preplanned exercise for
training on, containment of, and otherwise dealing with biologic threats. The
drill also involved fire departments, other first responders, police and
helicopter support.

The Department of Homeland Security
(DHS) oversaw the operation. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) also
participated. Martin County ARES assisted with simulated emergency

The county fairground was designated as an area
for responders to rest, eat and observe the progress of the event. The local
American Red Cross facility was staffed by an ARES team, and operators were
involved with scenarios involving food, water and bedding distribution
there. ARES members were also tasked with coordinating delivery of food, ice
and supplies to the fairgrounds for first responders.

Participating in Bio Shield 2015 was a first for the Martin County
ARES group – their simulated emergency tests are typically based on hurricane
situations. The ARES team fielded 17 operators for the county wide
biological threat training drill.

For information on Bio
Shield 2015, please see the following videos:


exercise followed the Stuart Air Show, held on October 30 – November 1, with the Martin
County Amateur Radio Association and ARES participating. 50,000 attended
this year’s event. The air show features reenactments of World War II
battles, with paratroopers dropping on to the main display area. The Martin
County ARA and ARES operators set up a tri-band antenna on a tower trailer, with
the tower raised to 45 feet. Contacts were made with stations around the
country and the globe. A special event call sign was employed: N4A – phonetics were “November 4 America.”

were sometimes difficult to make over the din of a Boeing F-18 supersonic
fighter jet passing 200 feet overhead at 650 mph, with simulated gunfire.
For members of the Amateur Radio team, this event is the operating highlight
of the year. Members hand out ARRL promotional material and information on
licensing. This year was the club’s best for contacts made: 1070. Events
such as the air show and Bio Shield help prepare Martin County radio
amateurs for operation in the field when real emergencies and disasters
occur. — Gary Webster, K4GMW, Jensen Beach, Florida

[From, biological agents are organisms or toxins that can
kill or incapacitate people, livestock and crops. A biological attack is
the deliberate release of germs or other biological substances that can make
you sick. The three basic groups of biological agents that would likely be
used as weapons are bacteria, viruses and toxins. Most biological agents
are difficult to grow and maintain. Many break down quickly when exposed to
sunlight and other environmental factors, while others, such as anthrax
spores, are very long lived. Biological agents can be dispersed by spraying
them into the air, by infecting animals that carry the disease to humans and
by contaminating food and water. Delivery methods include: aerosols,
animals, food and water contamination, and person-to-person. Specific information
on biological agents is available through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. –

Public Service
Communications: Know, Communicate, and Maintain the Boundaries

Here are two quotes, which stunned me as much as they should
you: “I had no idea what the hams were doing — they were making
decisions that were not theirs to make.””The hams never integrated.” The
latter may speak to the former, but these quotes come from two distinct
organizations, neither having any connection with the other except for this:
negative experiences with our amateur service. These same organizations
eventually came back to Amateur Radio, both thanks to a refreshing change in
leadership, and with an encouraging constant that held through good times and
bad: the quality of our average volunteer. I hear it so often and from every
organization and agency: “The hams are dedicated. They show up on time,
eager to help. They are our best volunteers.”

people like these, why such dissonance? It’s a leadership issue, but more
than this I believe it comes down to individual relationships and a failure
sometimes to recognize, communicate, and maintain boundaries.

It’s a whole new ball game nowadays. We’re not on the scene just to
erect a few antennas and check in with net control. Our new roles involve
working closer with others, understanding and speaking the language of our
“client,” doing a lot of communicating long before the event or emergency
occurs, and establishing boundaries: Who is responsible for what? How will we
handle a particular issue? Who do we report to? Amazingly, time and again,
I find these basic questions are never considered by those who allege to
lead our teams. It is, I think, the one reason why we sometimes fail.

In our Western culture, boundaries are commonly considered in
a negative frame of reference, but in the field of human relationships
where we do much of our interfacing in Amateur Radio public service,
boundaries build trust and confidence and they simply make everything run

I was asked to help organize communications services
for a small athletic event. It had the typical closed-course, with water
stops, a medical tent, and a loosely constructed set of event leadership. I had
reservations: no participation was permitted in the pre-event planning. No
integration of our service within the event structure was allowed. We
were, I was told, “trusted” to do the right thing. This approach, with its cart
before the horse, spelled trouble. Horses don’t follow carts very well I
thought, and should anything screw up we’ll be on the hook. Still, I pitched
in and put it together, but with a very cautious approach. Instead of
waiting for the rules, I set them myself, and very conservatively. Just before
things kicked off I cornered the event official. In friendly fashion I
said, “Our job is to provide instant and reliable communications to support
safety and extend your decision-making reach, nothing more. This is your event
and you make the decisions.” I think it was the “nothing more” that stuck,
plus the open recognition of and deference to his authority. It opened his
eyes, and a few doors. Now, several years doing the same event (we didn’t
screw up), our roles are expanded, and conversations are finally taking
place. I don’t recommend this tactic for every event, and I probably would not
do it this way again, but perhaps it helps make the point.

Boundaries are everywhere and must be considered in how we create a
communications plan, what’s in the plan, and how it’s executed. But plans are
only as good as those who follow along. The ARRL Emergency
Communications course training reminds us that our role within the EOC, UCC,
or any place where we serve others, is to work as a “team player.” We are
encouraged to take orders (in other words, respect and support boundaries),
and to understand that doing so is one of the basic expectations. Things
become quickly dysfunctional when a volunteer struts about, insecure and
lacking internal controls, inside a group that recognizes the vital link
between organization and success; teamwork and individual contribution; working
within established channels, consistent with the plan.

As a leader, how open are you to understanding, communicating and
maintaining boundaries? I encourage you to consider these questions. If uncertain,
then ask. If you discover areas of your work that might cross a boundary
previously unconsidered, discuss it with those above you in the chain of
command. If a volunteer crosses the line, perform rapid correction, then improve
training, and refine your volunteer selection, screening, and assignment.
Above all, make it your goal as a leader to listen, and to approach your
bosses and your teams with a relationship-opening attitude. Replacing “here’s
what I will do for you” with the simple question “how may we be of
service?” goes a long, long way.

Boundaries — they’re waiting
to be better understood, communicated, refined, and maintained. Our Amateur
Radio communications service will be all the better for such efforts. –
Mark Richards, K1MGY, Littleton, Massachusetts [Richards serves
as a member of the Boston Athletic Association Communications Committee,
and is a frequent public service event volunteer and organizer. He holds an
Extra Class license and is employed in the technical design and product
development of hand-held environmental monitoring instrumentation.]

Letters: “What You Are Not”

The article “What You Are Not” in the October 22, 2015,
issue perfectly captures the pre-9/11, pre-ICS view of Amateur Radio in
emergencies. In the post-9/11 era, our role has evolved to the point where we are
seen more as trained communications experts who can be embedded in and
expect to have defined leadership roles. We are now more involved with
emergency communications planning, and are expected to make decisions within our
scope of practice. Our government partners treat us more as advisors and
peers; we are careful to take their direction and coaching. We now have
advanced skills, more quality and quantity of volunteers and more capable,
resilient communications infrastructure to offer (such as emerging high speed data
radio networks). — Erik Westgard, NY9D, St. Paul, Minnesota

South Carolina Flooding: Notes from the Section

[I recently asked ARRL South Carolina
Section Manager Marc Tarplee, N4UFP, if there was any significant response to
this fall’s flooding disaster there. A storm that resulted from a cold
front that passed through the eastern US, stalling offshore and picking up
moisture from Hurricane Joaquin, caused the devastating flash flooding from
rain, and rivers overflowing banks that resulted in much destruction. Here is
his reply — ed.] ARES activity in South Carolina during the
historic flash flooding in October was minimal, but the state’s Emergency
Management Division did have a group of Amateur Radio operators activate the
amateur position at the state EOC continuously during the storm and during the
immediate aftermath. Normal telecommunications infrastructure remained almost
completely intact during the entire event. The rain came, quite literally,
without weather. It rained continuously for an entire weekend, but there
was no wind, no electrical activity, no hail, and no tornadoes. The rain was
not a deluge, just steady and unrelenting. The major flooding affected an
area bounded by Myrtle Beach, Columbia, and Charleston, roughly one-third
of the state’s land area. The remainder of the state did not experience any
real flooding, just unending rain.

This was certainly a
once-in-a-lifetime disaster for citizens in the affected regions, but the
unusual nature of the event (continuous rain with calm atmospheric
conditions) created a situation in which our power and telecommunications
infrastructure didn’t fail, and amateurs were not called upon significantly to
volunteer their services. Although we didn’t get a chance to show what we could
do, I am glad that things were not worse than they were. — Marc
Tarplee, N4UFP, ARRL South Carolina Section Manager

Group Publishes On-Line Video Library for
Disaster Response Training

The Disaster Resistant Communities
Group provides disaster planning and preparedness, response, recovery and
mitigation services to local, regional, state and national agencies and
departments as well as community and faith based organizations. According to its
website, the DRCG “develops innovative concepts that meet the needs of
local, state, regional and national emergency management agencies and
organizations; and provides creative opportunities for local community stakeholders
to plan and prepare for, respond to, recover from and mitigate the effects
of disasters and to use innovative technology that engages people,
organizations and agencies to work together to prepare the whole community for the
next emergency or disaster.”

The group publishes Just In
Time Disaster Training videos, which can be found on their website. The
group also sponsors a slate of exercises based on various hazards. Click
here for more. – Thanks to ARRL Assistant Public Information
Coordinator Sherri Brower, W4STB, ARRL Southern Florida Section

Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR)

ARRL Letter and QST
Contributing Editor Rick Lindquist, WW1ME, found an intriguing challenge contest
for emergency/disaster operators, from South Africa: the Rapid Deployment Amateur Radio (RaDAR)
Challenge. Contestant-operators try to make as many contacts as possible in
24 hours but need to physically move their stations after every five
contacts, a rule that applies to the RaDAR moving stations category only. Other
operators may take part as a fixed RaDAR station or field station. –
Thanks, WW1ME

Public Service:
ARES Supports Ultra Marathon in Florida Panhandle

Northern Florida’s West Panhandle District ARES supported the
Cottonmouth 100 Ultra-marathon, a 100-mile endurance race that ran through parts
of two counties (Santa Rosa and Okaloosa) in a forest that encompasses
almost 200,000 acres. Amateurs provided radio support at each of six aid
stations and the start/finish line.

Eight Escambia County
ARES members, one Okaloosa County ARES member, and six Santa Rosa County ARES
members all worked together to pull off the operation. A net control
station conducted the race net on two frequencies — 146.430 MHz simplex and
147.360 MHz, the W4AAV Crestview repeater. The goal was to use simplex as much
as possible and only use the repeater for those aid stations that could
not otherwise be heard. The competitors ran on several portions of the Florida

The race began at 6:03 AM on November 14. ARES
support kicked in after the first 50 miles had been completed by the runners.
The net control station started radio operations at noon, continuing
operations until 11:00 the next day. Tactical call signs consisting of the name
of each aid station were used. Each aid station reported each runner’s
number as they came through. A large portion of the race was in darkness, so
reporting was critical for safety.

Lessons Learned

More operators were needed, as were a backup net control
station and message runners at the net control site. A spreadsheet (in lieu of
scratch sheets) for each radio operator listing each runner and bib number
would have improved tracking efficiency. Antennas for each station could
have been higher. Shelter for the operators for protection from the elements
(primarily cold and dampness) needs improvement.

Overall the operation and event were successful. All operators learned the
importance of having back-up equipment. – Daisy Crepeau, KT4KW, Santa Rosa
Assistant EC; and Joe McLemore, KF4DVF, Assistant EC, Escambia County, Florida

Marathon Communications Committee Seeks Skilled Amateurs for Technical
Infrastructure Assistance

Preparations are underway
once more for the Boston Athletic Association’s Boston Marathon, April 18,
2016. Nearly 300 trained Amateur Radio volunteers support the event,
providing vital communications services across the entirety of the 26 mile course.
Volunteers are recruited, selected, and managed by the BAA’s Communications
Committee, which is entering its second year of operation. “A major
initiative of the Committee this year is to bolster the technology we use on
Marathon Monday,” said Communications Committee member Matthew Forman, K6MCF.
“To do so, we’re forming a Technical Infrastructure Subcommittee (TIS) and
seeking amateurs who can offer current skills in analog and/or digital modes
(UHF/VHF), repeaters, and infrastructure. We’d like to have the TIS
consist of one technically-seasoned member from Amateur Radio clubs in
Massachusetts, southern New Hampshire, and the northern parts of Connecticut and
Rhode Island,” said Forman.

Another Committee member, Mark
Richards, K1MGY, will be assisting in representing the TIS to clubs and
other interests. “A diversity of talent, and the involvement from and
representation to this work by area clubs is vital to creating volunteer
opportunities for everyone and making sure that Amateur Radio is a part of this
extraordinary event for years to come,” he said. Richards will be contacting
clubs and soliciting their assistance. He can be reached directly at

Department of
Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications to Provide AUXCOMM Training
in Conjunction with Orlando’s HamCation® 2016

The Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Emergency Communications
(OEC) will be on hand at Orlando’s HamCation® 2016, the ARRL National
Convention, to conduct its nationally recognized NIMS/ICS compliant
Auxiliary Communications (AuxComm) course. Over 1,200 Amateur Radio operators
from around the country have taken this course. The purpose of the course is
to train qualified amateurs so they may assist their local, county and state
governments with emergency backup communications if requested to do so.
This course will be held the three days prior to Orlando’s HamCation®,
February 9-11, in the Orlando, Florida, area near the Hamcation event

Registration is open now. Students requesting to attend
the course must meet all of the listed prerequisites (FEMA Independent
Study Course completions on the ICS, NIMS and NRF, as indicated below) and
provide electronic/scanned images of required documents when registering.
Prerequisites: A copy of your current valid FCC amateur radio license; IS-100B
certificate; IS-200B certificate; IS-700A certificate; and IS-800B

Only students whose registration is approved in
advance will be allowed to attend this training. The course is limited to 40
students, and registration will close when that number of qualified students
has been reached. OEC will notify Statewide Interoperability Coordinators
(SWIC) in those States whose attendees successfully complete this

Course Content: The Communications Unit and the
Emergency Operations Center (EOC); AUXCOMM Roles and Responsibilities;
Interoperable Communications; Incident Communications; Incident Radio Communications
Plan; Incident Communications Center (ICC); Team Management and
Accountability; Resources; Best Practices; Intrastate and Interstate Radio Networks;
Final Exercise Exam

This will be an intensive three day
course with facilitated lectures and student exercises. This course
provides time for interactive discussions and exercises. Registrations/questions
regarding this course should be sent with the key word “Orlando HamCation 2016” in the subject line.

K1CE For a Final

My New
Year’s resolution is to operate off the grid for the entire year of 2016. I
recently acquired a 15 watt solar panel for charging my 31 amp/hour SLA
gel cell battery, and that’s all I will use for powering my Icom IC-7000 and
IC-2200H radios from home for the year. My 2016 operating agenda includes
the ARRL National Parks On The Air program, which celebrates the National
Parks’ Centennial. Click here for info. I hope to work readers! (In a way, the Amateur
Radio service is like a National Park, or indeed, an international park

The ARES E-Letter for November 18, 2015


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

November 18,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This Issue:


Oregon 2015 QuakeEX SETs: A

Maintain a Strict Listening Watch

Typhoon! — A Lesson in Pacific Island Disaster

Amateur Radio Club Helps Promote Diabetes

Veterans’ Day Month: HDSCS Loses One of Its

ARES Briefs, Links

Hams Support Air Force Marathon (11/6/2015); Putting Contesting to Work for Your Public Service Team
(10/30/2015); Amateur Radio to Have a Presence at National Tribal Assistance
Coordination Group Workshop (10/27/2015); National Emergency Net Active as Category 5
Hurricane Patricia Nears Mexico (10/23/2015); Radio Amateurs in Mexico Prepare as Powerful
Hurricane Patricia Nears Landfall (10/23/2015); Amateur Radio Was Part of Typhoon Koppu Response in
the Philippines (10/19/2015)

Oregon 2015 QuakeEX SETs: A Recap

Next spring,
Region X, county emergency management agencies statewide, many others
and Oregon ARES/RACES will participate in the FEMA Cascadia Rising exercise. This is a functional
exercise that will play out what might happen should/when a major
earthquake strike the Pacific Northwest. The drill scenario anticipates widespread
loss of normal communication modes such as cell phones, Internet and public
safety radio as well as major power outages.

prepare for Cascadia Rising, Oregon ARES/RACES conducted two statewide simulated
emergency tests (SETs) patterned after the FEMA scenario playbook. The
spring 2015 SET involved 24 counties, four cities, ten hospitals, about 300
ARES/ACS/other volunteers and moved about 1,700 messages to various addresses
(mostly by HF Winlink Pactor) during the six hour SET. All traffic went by
simplex VHF (no repeaters), HF SSB and HF Winlink Pactor to out of state
gateways. All of this was done from within state/county/city EOCs statewide.
The fall 2015 SET played the same scenario but mostly from the field on
generators/batteries and in stormy weather. The November SET involved 16
counties and about 250 volunteers.

The differences between
the two SETs were striking, proving that operating from the field, Field Day
style, is far more challenging. During high winds and heavy rain, HF
antennas were blown down, tents were flooded and operators got uncomfortable. We
discovered that under field conditions with no Internet, if you haven’t
updated your modem firmware lately or obtained your Winlink password, you are
off the air. Repairing broken HF wire antennas in the wind and rain means
that you hope you have that backup antenna! And if the generator won’t
start you have no power. If your people aren’t trained or prepared for
contingencies, these problems just seem to multiply.

learned that as much as you might think you are “ready” to go into the field in
a major disaster like a magnitude 9 earthquake, it takes constant
preparation and training to be truly “ready.” Those that have participated in
Oregon’s Quake EX SETs have learned a lot and have a lot more work to do. It was
a realistic training experience. More information is available on-line at
ARES/RACES on the Cascadia Rising and SET pages. — John Core, KX7YT,
Oregon ARES/RACES SET Coordinator,

Maintain a Strict Listening Watch

“We have two ears and
one mouth and they are to be used in proportion.” – anonymous. In
the days where every ship of credibility carried a Morse code set, the radio
operator was required to maintain radio silence on the international
distress frequency of 500 KHz for a three minute interval, at 15 and 45 minutes
of every hour. As radiotelephone came into being a 3 minute watch was
maintained at 0 and 30 minutes. If the disaster your vessel encountered fit
within the 30 minute schedule, your weak, plaintive CQD (later, SOS) had a good
chance of being heard amidst all the commercial traffic and noise.

Today, satellite communications systems have forced these
“antiquated” structures into retirement, but not entirely. A few years ago I
enjoyed a tour of a huge container ship at Boston Harbor. After pleasantries
with the Captain I asked for permission to meet his Radio Officer. “Our
Engineer holds that title,” he told me, “but in reality,” with the Captain
putting his hands on a piece of satellite gear, “this is our Radio Officer.”
Paying deference to the captain and the high tech gear, I then headed
straight for the radio room – thankfully they still had one — and was warmly
greeted by a middle-aged man of professional bearing in full white uniform.
There, in a large space, were three racks, each with a high powered HF
transmitter. The wise officer revealed his best-kept secret to safety: “Should
we be going down,” he said, opening a small desk drawer, “I’m using this.” A
rather sturdy Morse hand key was revealed, and there began an
understanding between us. “The satellites don’t talk back,” he told me. “This does.”

Quiet Periods, Listening Watches and Amateur Radio

He knew about the quiet periods and listening watches of old
and the stories of lives lost and saved. He also knew that the necessity of
maintaining a strict listening watch has not been lost to time and
technology. In fact, it’s a greater necessity than we may have considered in our
own Amateur Radio service. The very first Amateur Radio public service event
I was responsible to organize included this concept. “Let’s keep an ear on
the radio, so we might be less tied up with getting your attention and
have more time to pass actual traffic.” Time and experience reveals that other
problems such as the limitations of newer digital modes are mitigated by
the maintenance of the strict listening watch.

My local
club, the Police
Amateur Radio Team (PART) of Westford, Massachusetts, operates a 2-meter
analog repeater that is a fantastic performer. It’s reliable. It has a wide
reach. It is well maintained. Still, there are instances where the
combination of interference, distance from the repeater site, and operator technique
combine adversely.

The Boston Athletic Association Boston Marathon
communications system offers excellent fodder for study. With almost 300
communications volunteers and a few dozen unique repeaters and other
radio-communication systems all pressed to the limit within a very short time span, anything
and everything that can go wrong generally does go wrong. I have, as a
volunteer (this is my 15th year), listened in pain to dreadfully long attempts
at getting a simple message between two units, which generally begin with
several unanswered calls, adding to the mess. In 2015, in a leadership
capacity, I targeted the only variables within our immediate control: the
operator on both ends of the circuit. Maintaining a strict listening watch
became a mantra, and it will continue as long as we hold a radio in one hand and
a cup of coffee in the other.

At a public service
event many of us clip our radio to the belt. Body fading, the same physical
phenomena that aids us in Fox Hunting, attenuates what’s coming in and of
course what goes out. I now encourage my Net Control Operators (NCO) to request
that field units “raise the radio over your head and try again” in the
first instance where that unit is unreadable. This solves the input problem in
almost all cases. With sufficient practice, it’s hoped that awareness will
spread, and the reminders be made obsolete.

The output
problem – the ability to receive the repeater output in the field – is
rarely that the (stronger) repeater transmission cannot be heard. It’s simply
that the operator is not focused, not listening for the call. The operator
is chatting with friends, tired and glazed, or listening to other
communications. One volunteer insisted that he bring along another radio so he might
“listen in on public safety.” “That’s nice,” I replied, “but it’s not in
our job description.” I feared that, while lost to more exciting radio
banter, my volunteer would lose awareness – of our situation and responsibility
— so necessary to maintain. I was right. He was often difficult to reach
and generally ineffective. Hopefully it was a lesson learned.

Sure, our work can sometimes involve simply waiting for that one
call, and this can be boring. But think of how interesting we can make our
listening watch when we form a picture in our mind of what’s happening at the
event overall, and what has happened in the past, to grasp that we perform
a life or death function. 100% focus on our duty and assignment is critical
to our “client” event officials being able to secure the public’s safety
as best they can, at the rest stop, intersection, or Red Cross facility to
which we are assigned.

Maintaining that strict listening
watch repeatedly overcomes the limitations inherent in our technical
communications method, promotes situational awareness, improves our
effectiveness to the teams we support, and in the end is a discipline that keeps us
focused on the reason we’re standing underneath that silly orange hat in the
first place: to provide instant, reliable communications.

So maintain that strict listening watch. Your performance and overall
satisfaction, and public safety at the next public service event will be all
the better for it. — Mark Richards, K1MGY [Richards serves as a
member of the Boston Athletic Association Communications Committee, and is a
frequent public service event volunteer and organizer. He is employed in the
technical design and product development of hand-held environmental
monitoring instrumentation].

Typhoon! — A Lesson in Pacific Island Disaster Relief

With a population of 103,000, the Federated States of
Micronesia (FSM) in the Pacific is comprised of four states — Pohnpei, Kosrae,
Chuuk and Yap. There are more than 600 islands, spanning 1800 miles from east
to west and several hundred miles north to south. On the night of March 31,
2015, super typhoon Maysak struck Ulithi Atoll in Yap State.
With winds of more than 160 mph and gusts greater than 210 mph, Maysak was a
Category 5 storm. A major storm surge resulted and on most islands,
infrastructure including schools, homes, power and communication systems, suffered
major damage or were destroyed completely. No fatalities occurred on

I have a home there (on Falalop Island) and my job is
to develop computer systems for schools. I also teach technology to the
schools’ students and train their teachers. I also provide humanitarian
services with the help of our local radio club, the Big Island Amateur Radio Club. I was off the
island when the typhoon hit, but was ticketed to fly home on April 10 – my
mission upon arrival would be disaster relief.

I packed
communications equipment, emergency power sources, antennas, tools, spare
parts, survival equipment, and enough emergency food for my adopted family of
14 (including ten hungry high school students from Satawal Island) for a
period of five weeks. Some of the supplies were shipped to Yap just before I
left Hilo, Hawaii, but 11 bags had to be taken on the plane. (Hawaiian
Airlines waived all excess baggage fees). There were some customs hang-ups to
be dealt with.

My house survived, but power lines were
down and the diesel generator power house was partially destroyed. The
International Office of Migration (IOM) loaned me two 60 amp/hour batteries and
gave me a ride to my home. Richard Darling, AH7G, and Barbara Darling,
NH7FY, had provided funding for a Renogy 100 watt suitcase folding solar
panel, inverter, battery pack, and toolbox. By morning, I had set up the
batteries and solar power systems, and an Icom IC-718 HF transceiver. Fiberglass
masts and antennas were erected. I then contacted Richard Darling, AH7G, and
William Radolfetheg, V63YWR, as scheduled, with good propagation and
signals. We ultimately conducted 35 health-and-welfare phone patches from
Falalop, Ulithi, and another 38 patches from Federai back to Hawaii and beyond.

ARRL Pacific Section Manager Bob Schneider, AH6J,
procured an ARRL HF Go Kit from ARRL HQ to be set up as a secondary station at
the dispensary. The kit contained four VHF hand-held radios, which proved
useful for local communications.

Falalop Island was
devastated, with vegetation gone, including food plants. There was no shade. Our
household had only 48 hours’ supply of potable water. Much of the water
catchment systems on the island were destroyed. In many cases, remaining
standing water was contaminated and amoebic dysentery became a problem. The
water problem was solved when IOM set up a desalinization plant. Water was then
transported to the people by wheelbarrow or by whatever containers could
be found. Relief food and supplies started to arrive from Guam.

Many had no houses left and the houses that remained had no roofs.
The United States
Agency for International Development (USAID) sent tarps for temporary
roofs. Most of the island’s HF, SSB and VHF communications were down for an
extended period — there was no power and most of the antennas were destroyed.
We got the dispensary’s VHF communication systems up and running again with
emergency repairs on its antenna.

Insult to Injury

On Monday, May 4, tropical storm Noul hit us, and the next
morning it hit the rest of Yap as a full category 1 typhoon. Our 20-meter
vertical was blown almost horizontal, but continued to hang in there.
During this storm, we remained in communication with Darling, Radolfetheg, and
Ray Gibson, KH2GUM on Guam. Granola bars were the food of the day. Between 8
pm and 10 pm that night our dining hut with my antenna still attached
finally blew away. The next day, after the storm had blown by, we gathered all
of the pieces of the hut and rebuilt it. The vertical antenna and mast had
survived but the radials had broken. After more work, everything was
repaired and we were back up on the air. Unfortunately, all of the USAID tarps on
the roofs had blown down so we were back to square one with no roofs to
protect many of us. A week later, typhoon Dolphin came along, but thankfully
it missed us on Ulithi by a few hundred miles. It did hit Guam.

I was then tasked by the Yap State Department of Education to
assist in rebuilding and restarting the schools that had been destroyed. All of
these buildings were constructed with concrete!

Value of Amateur Radio

There were two amateurs on Federai
Island: William Radolfetheg, V63YWR and Albert Haped, V63YAH. Richard
Darling, AH7G, Ray Gibson, KH2GUM, and I were in communications with Federai
every evening as the storm approached. We remained in communications until
four hours before the storm made landfall. As a result, the Federai community
took our warnings very seriously and was well prepared: Roofs were tied
down with large ropes, school computers were stored in the new dispensary,
and families with children were sheltered in the dispensary building. While
Federai also had a lot of storm damage, they fared much better than the
other islands. The point is that Amateur Radio communications can be even more
valuable in advance of and leading into a disaster like this where there is
time for preparations to be made. Amateur Radio communications in remote
locales like this is more effective and efficient than all other
communication systems — both before and after the onset of the effects of the
disaster. The health-and-welfare phone patches alone were of great humanitarian

A technical note on antennas: the elevated ground
plane antenna with resonant radials performs very well. It’s an
inexpensive, effective, efficient antenna, easy to transport, and easy to assemble. It
is more resilient than other antennas.

See the V63JB page on
for photos and more information on typhoon responses. — John Bush,
KH6DLK/V63JB; and Bob Schneider, AH6J, ARRL Pacific Section Manager [Bush
is the 2012 ARRL International Humanitarian Award winner –

Amateur Radio
Club Helps Promote Diabetes Awareness

Members of
the University of
Mississippi Amateur Radio Club (UMARC) provided on-course communications for
the annual Walk For Diabetes held in Oxford on Sunday, November 8. The
walk, sponsored by the Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi, began at the Lyceum
Loop on the university campus and continued to the downtown area before
returning to the Lyceum.

UMARC members took up positions
at rest stops and key junctions, calling in status reports on the progress
of the more than 150 walkers via the club repeater located on the campus.

The Diabetes Foundation of Mississippi conducts these and similar
events to raise awareness of diabetes and raise financial support in helping
them provide care for Mississippians who have diabetes.

Sarah Abraham, Program Coordinator, made the request to UMARC for
supporting the event. A number of walkers assembled in groups, each distinguished
by colorful tee shirts showing their support for a loved one who has
diabetes. All who finished the walk received a medal to wear and most got a tee
shirt promoting diabetes awareness.

Located on the
university grounds, UMARC operates with station call sign W5UMS. Members provide
similar coverage for other local events such as the annual Double-Decker
Fun Run and anticipate a continued partnership with the Diabetes Foundation
of Mississippi. — Ron Lefebvre, W1IBL, President, University of
Mississippi Amateur Radio Club

Veterans’ Day Month: HDSCS Loses One of Its Own

On November 6, the
ARES-affiliated Hospital
Disaster Support Communications System, Orange County, California, lost
member Roman Kamienski, KG6QMZ, a Lt. Colonel in the Army Reserves and
active Army MARS operator. He was remembered in a military memorial service
complete with flag presentation to his wife and a 21 gun salute. Only 56, he
died of complications from a ruptured cerebral aneurysm. During Roman’s 12
years with HDSCS he participated in almost every major drill. He also
communicated in some actual emergencies, including a 2004 phone failure caused
by a power interruption at an Anaheim Hospital. In 2005 he was on site for a
standby operation during phone work at St. Jude Hospital in Fullerton,
which then turned into an all-night emergency when the system did not come
back on line. In addition to a display of his military certificates and
medals, including the Army Commendation Medal with Oak Leaf cluster for
distinguished achievement presented in 2007, Roman’s wife added his HDSCS blue vest,
name badge, certificates related to HDSCS service and an HDSCS
commemorative challenge coin numbered 73. We were honored to have had him in HDSCS as
a communicator and antenna team member. – April Moell, WA6OPS, District
Emergency Coordinator, Amateur Radio Emergency Service; Hospital Disaster
Support Communications System, Orange County, Cailfornia

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The ARES E-Letter for October 22, 2015


If you are having trouble
reading this message, you can see the original at:

October 22,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



ARES Briefs, Links

ARRL President Congratulates Hurricane
Watch Net on its 50th Anniversary (10/7/2015); Hurricane Watch Net Stands Down, Reactivates as
Joaquin Nears Bermuda (10/4/2015); ARRL Invites Nominations For 2015 International Humanitarian Award
(10/2/2015);FEMA Administrator Craig
Fugate, KK4INZ, Visits WX4NHC(10/2/2015)

“Science and Skill in Service” Report a Must Read

While directed at lawmakers at all levels to advocate for Amateur Radio,
the 2015 ARRL publication Amateur Radio: Science and Skill in Service to
Your Community is also a good read for the ARES community: the 12-page
report provides a summary of major ARES and other groups’ operations for
incidents and events throughout the regions of the country over the past
couple of years. A product of the League’s regulatory and advocacy staff, the
report shows graphicallyhow Amateur Radio has benefited the United States
through public service, disaster response, and partnering with other served
agencies. The report will lend even the most grizzled veteran operator pride
in what we all do. Click here for the
report – don’t miss it!


Exercise to Simulate a Coronal Mass Ejection; Amateurs Invited to

Beginning the week of November 8, 2015, the
Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) will participate in a quarterly
contingency HF exercise in support of the Department of Defense. The exercise
scenario will simulate a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) event and focus on
actions that radio operators should take prior to and following such an event.
[Coronal mass ejections (or CMEs) are huge bubbles of gas threaded with
magnetic field lines that are ejected from the Sun over the course of several
hours. Coronal Mass Ejections disrupt the flow of the solar wind and produce
disturbances that strike the Earth with sometimes catastrophic results.
More on CMEs here. – source NASA.] Training objectives for this
exercise will include:

Understanding what a CME is and
how much forecast lead time can be expected prior to the CME.

effects are associated with a CME and what precautions should radio operators
take prior to the CME to protect equipment.

Following the CME, operators
will begin assessing the effects and begin reporting this

Interoperability with Amateur Radio operators and groups.

Amateur Radio operators, ARES and RACES members are encouraged to
participate in this exercise. If interested in participating, click here to
register. — Paul English, NETCOM Land Mobile Radio Manager, Army MARS Program

New Ohio ECs Learn from
Veterans at ARES Leadership Conference

Twenty new
members of the ARRL Ohio Section ARES leadership team spent a day learning
from senior leaders about their new responsibilities. The class was conducted
at the Franklin County Emergency Management office in Columbus. Freshmen
county Emergency Coordinators (EC) and Assistant ECs heard from Ohio Section
Manager Scott Yonally, N8SY, Section Emergency Coordinator Stan Broadway,
N8BHL, Northeast Ohio District 10 EC Eric Jessen, N8AUC, and Dayton area
District 3 EC Robert Rhoades, KC8WHK.

When a new EC is
appointed, the appointee receives a manual from ARRL HQ covering their new
responsibilities in leading a county ARES program. “We wanted to supplement
the ARRL training materials with a conversational learning environment where
we could put ‘real life’ into their understanding of their leadership
tasks,” said SEC Broadway. Speakers at the day-long session brought
considerable credentials, experience and expertise to the podium. Rhoades has an
extensive background in the fire service and Fire Marshall’s office, the Ohio
Health Department and is an instructor at the national training centers in
Emmitsburg, Maryland. Jessen drew from a large city history of events and
interaction with major served agencies. Section Manager Yonally and SEC
Broadway share extensive backgrounds in emergency services and planning.

Broadway launched the day session with an overview of ARES
from its historical roots to its current organization in Ohio. The main
concept for session attendees to learn is that the EC is the lead representative
of ARES in his county; knowing his jurisdiction and being able to
establish and maintain relationships with local partner agencies are
missions-critical. The District ECs and SEC are appointed to support the EC, reinforcing
the EC’s ability to serve the agencies and the public.The session also
covered the importance of specific job duties including filing monthly

Section Manager Yonally had just returned from a week
of training at ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, where he was
presented with training and information on Field Organization and ARES
policies and procedures. He related this knowledge and lessons he has learned
through personal experience to the group.

SEC Broadway
discussed how to establish and maintain a solid working relationship with the
EMA Director, and other served agency leaders. Jessen advised “Never write
a check they can’t cash,” which resonated with the group. Other discussion
ranged from the importance of presenting a professional image and what it
takes to be accepted into the inner circle of leaders at the EMA office.

Rhodes brought to the session discussion table his wealth
of experience in building exercises, describing the different types of
exercises, and what goes into creating a proper Master Scenario Events List
(MESL). [An MSEL documents the timetable of events and injects (eg, test
events and messages) that guide exercise progress. It links simulation to
action promoting the best exercise experience for players, and lists prompts for
players to execute a policy or procedure to be tested. An MSEL lists
scenario times, the exercise scenario and summary, expected responses by players
for injects, and has a notes section for controllers and evaluators to
compare exercise actual versus planned outcomes. – ed.]

Broadway discussed emergency planning with the attendees, outlining the Ohio
Section Emergency Response Plan (OSERP) and how it can be adapted to
specific county situations and needs. ECs were advised to talk with their EMA
Directors about what Broadway calls the “Ten Worst Headaches” list – an
outline of potential problems with the ARES/EMA relationship and possible
solutions. The goal is a good working relationship, leading to the overall
integration of ARES as a valid emergency resource.

One of the
top concerns for many county ARES programs is retention, keeping volunteers
interested and active. Towards this goal, Broadway suggested holding
training sessions conducted by instructors/officials from county served agencies
covering topics such as light SAR (search and rescue), First Aid/CPR,
anti-terrorism, damage assessment, Red Cross shelter operations, the CERT
program, and evolving data modes.

Attendees received the
session enthusiastically, with their post-session evaluation form comments
affirming their interest in putting lessons learned into practice back in
their home county ARES programs. – Stan Broadway, N8BHL, Ohio Section
Emergency Coordinator


FEMA’s Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) Program

The Lessons Learned Information Sharing (LLIS) program is part of
FEMA’s National Preparedness Assessment Division (NPAD). The LLIS program
supports its mission by developing and disseminating lessons learned,
innovative practices, and other related content for improvement throughout the whole
community; analyzing emergency management capabilities in order to
identify common areas of strengths or improvements; and developing policy and
doctrine. For example, there is a report on an LLIS page under the heading
“Innovative Practices,” titled “Amateur Radio Volunteers Protect Community
Water Supply.” The report, dated October 7, 2014, presented how Federal
preparedness grants support Colorado’s structured partnership with ARES, “which
assists in establishing and maintaining emergency communications during

From the report: “In 2013, Colorado experienced
historic rainfall and flooding . . . as part of the response effort, 150
ARES volunteers in Colorado’s Northeast Region deployed to assist. When
floodwater threatened the electronic controls of a wastewater facility serving a
community of 80,000 people, ARES established a microwave network using two
grant-funded repeaters and took remote control of the plant. ARES
maintained control of the facility for four months — preventing any wastewater
from spilling into the floodwater.”

More discussion
follows in the report. There are many parts of FEMA’s LLIS resources that would
be of interest to us as radio amateurs and ARES members. Start by browsing


Central Florida ARES Group Supports Large Bicycle

The Lake Amateur Radio Association
activated ARES of Lake County (Florida) in support of the 41st Annual
Mount Dora Bicycle Festival in Mount Dora, Florida from October 9 -11, 2015.
Operators provided radio communications from each rest area as well as from
mobile radio units to patrol the various bicycle routes.

Lake County has 1400 named lakes and is considered Florida’s hill
country. Some hills offer a challenge for even the most experienced bicycle
riders. This year 1325 cyclists signed up to ride in the festival.

Radio equipped vehicles operated by radio amateurs transported a
total of 30 bicycle riders and their bicycles back to the starting area over
the three day event, for mechanical break downs and medical

Net control
operations from inside the trailer were run by (l to r) Frank Anders, KK4MBX,
and Jay Boehme, N4KXO. (photo courtesy Ted Luebbers, K1AYZ)

issues. Five medical emergencies were
managed: One rider required evacuation to the hospital with a broken collar
bone. Sixteen situations in total required the intervention of the mobile radio

The Lake County ARES group used a repeater
to run the net, keeping track of rest area locations and mobile radio units.
NCS operators used the call sign of N4FLA and assigned all field operators
tactical signs.

Lake County ARES and LARA have been
providing on course radio communications for the event for almost 25 years.
This year, 25 Amateur Radio operators volunteered their time and equipment
to ensure the public safety and garner experience for emergency/disaster
response. Click here
for more information on LARA and Lake County ARES. — Ted Luebbers, K1AYZ,
Lake County (Florida) ARES Public Information Officer [Luebbers was
named the recipient of the 2012 ARRL Philip J. McGan Silver Antenna Award,
recognized by the ARRL Board for his “outstanding volunteer public
relations success on behalf of Amateur Radio at the local and regional levels.”