The ARES E-Letter for April 15, 2015


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April 15,
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

ARES E-Letter Archive



In This Issue:


News Digest

TEMA AuxComm Exercise at End of Month

Hurricane Season 2015: D-STAR Hurricane Net a

Hurricane Season 2015: Governor’s Hurricane
Conference Next Month in Orlando

Hurricane Season 2015: Florida Statewide Hurricane
Exercise Next Month

Write Now: HR-1301 Has Special Significance for
Emergency/Disaster Operators

ARES Participates in Indiana Health Care Department

Broadband-Hamnet Issues New Release of Firmware for
Linksys and Ubiquiti

Letters: On-Line Training Courses

Feedback: Lubricating Ends of Mast

Profiles: Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator
Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV

What is DMR?

News Digest

Amateur Radio weather spotters were on alert April 9 as
severe weather and at least two tornadoes ripped through North-Central
Illinois. At least one person died in DeKalb County, and at least seven others
were injured. A tornado watch was in effect for parts of three states as
severe thunderstorms moved through the region ahead of an advancing cold front.
More here.

A shipment of ham radio equipment, tools, and
supplies will head from Hawaii to the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) this
week with John Bush, KH6DLK/V63JB. The radio gear will support communication
for relief efforts as the FSM recover from Tropical Cyclone Maysak, which
ravaged many of the nation’s islands in late March and early April,
wreaking major damage and causing some deaths. Bush plans to leave April 10. More

Amateur Radio will be part of the program when Preparedness Summit 2015 convenes April 14-17 in
Atlanta. Special event station N4P also will be on the air from the conference
location. The theme of this 10th Preparedness Summit is “Global Health
Security: Preparing a Nation for Emerging Threats.” More here.

volunteers in Puerto Rico took part in the 2015 Caribe Wave Large Atlantic
Tsunami Exercise (LANTEX) — an annual tsunami drill for the US
East Coast, Canada, the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Basin. The
exercise involved some 50 nations. The aim of the March 25 exercise was 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 a tsunami alert. More here.

Amateur Radio SKYWARN
volunteers in Oklahoma went on alert March 25 as severe thunderstorms sparked
tornadoes. The Southwest Independent Repeater Association (SWIRA) and Tulsa Region SKYWARN nets were active in
support of tornado warnings in both the Oklahoma City and Tulsa
Metropolitan areas. More here.


TEMA AuxComm Exercise at End of Month

A Tennessee Emergency Management Agency (TEMA) auxcomm exercise slated
for the end of this month will involve all of the Central U.S. Earthquake Consortium (CUSEC)
States (Indiana, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas, Tennessee,
Alabama, and Mississippi) along with other FEMA Region IV states. [FEMA Region IV
serves the southeastern states of Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky,
Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.] Amateur Radio, the
Military Auxiliary Radio System (MARS) and the federal
Shared Resources HF
Radio Program (SHARES) are all participating. The exercise will be a
follow-up to the Capstone 14 exercise. Winlink training will be a key mission

There are three pathways used for interstate
contingency communications under EMAC. [The Emergency Management Assistance
Compact (EMAC) is a state-led effort that provides a legal mechanism and
framework for sharing resources across state lines during a governor-declared
disaster.] The three pathways are LightSquared, a trunked voice/data
satellite system; the National Warning System (NAWAS), an automatic
telephone call-up system to warn federal, state and local entities of
emergency/disaster issues; and Winlink over various pathways all usually operated by
either an agency employee who is also a radio amateur, or auxiliary
communications radio amateur-volunteer. Participating government agencies at all
levels as well as public NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) are encouraged to
make use of volunteers. – Steve Waterman, K4CJX, Winlink 2000 Network


Hurricane Season 2015: D-STAR Hurricane
Net a Resource

The Florida Hurricane Net is a
D-STAR net that meets each Monday night at 2100 eastern time. The net is
currently held on D-STAR Reflector 037C, a major southeastern US network of D-STAR
repeaters. The primary purpose of the net is to provide training and
information to D-STAR operators in the three Florida ARRL Sections and greater
southeastern portion of the country, and to check connectivity for the
Central Florida Ratflector. This net is used
during emergencies to supplement ARES and State EOC assets by passing ARRL
Radiogram messages, Ham Watch weather reports, and humanitarian traffic.
During emergencies, ARES and emergency traffic will be passed on Reflector
046C and the Northern Florida Ratflector.

In addition to
hurricanes, the net can be activated for any major emergency or an event
that has regional significance where it would be necessary to provide ARRL
routine or humanitarian communications. Although this net is focused on
training and support for ARES and its partner agencies to pass this type of
traffic, any Amateur Radio operator or organization is welcome and encouraged
to participate in the net.

A data base of operators has
been established for the hurricane net. An e-mail notice of an approaching
storm or hurricane and the planned time of net activation will be sent to
all data base registrants. A data base map is available for all data base
members. Click here for the data base
application. Complete the form and
e-mail it to Bob Jones, N6USP, net manager, and to ARRL Northern Florida
Section Manager Steve
Szabo, WB4OMM.

Net Control operators
are being sought to help run the Florida Hurricane Net. If you are a
Florida ARES member and wish to help with Net Control duties, please send an
e-mail to the net manager Bob Jones, N6USP and he will provide your contact information to
the appropriate Florida ARRL Section contact. Net Control responsibility is
rotated among the three Florida ARRL Sections. – ARRL Northern Florida
Section Newsletter


Hurricane Season 2015:
Governor’s Hurricane Conference Next Month in Orlando

While it’s now been 10 years since the last hurricane crossed the Florida
coastline, that same period has seen storms such as Sandy, Ike, Irene and
Isaac devastate other areas. Learning the important operational lessons from
these storms is important for future response efficiencies and
effectiveness. The 29th Annual
Governor’s Hurricane Conference® (GHC) to be held in Orlando, May 10-15,
is a good way to gain knowledge from lessons learned.The 2015 GHC theme is
“Rethink Resilience…Connecting Capabilities for Stronger
Communities.” Over 300 hours of training and workshops covering all aspects of
hurricane readiness, full of the latest trends, topics, tools and technologies
to best improve your disaster response/recovery processes will be offered.

The Evolving Emergency Communications Landscape and
How Our Federal Partners the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Can Assist is a workshop of
special interest to radio amateurs to be held on Thursday, May 14, 8:30 AM –
10:00 AM. From its description: With the development of the Nationwide
Public Safety Broadband Network (NPSBN), Next Generation 9-1-1 (NG 9-1-1), and
Internet Protocol-based technologies, today’s emergency communications
networks are experiencing a wave of modernization. Learn how FEMA and the DHS
Office of Emergency Communications assist the emergency response community
in the use of these evolving emergency communications technologies,
including emergency alerts, NG 9-1-1, Reverse 9-1-1, social media, GETS, WPS,
IPAWS, CMAS, broadband, data, video and more. Conference information can be
found here.


Hurricane Season 2015: Florida Statewide Hurricane Exercise Next

The Florida Statewide Hurricane Exercise is
scheduled for next month. Northern Florida Section Manager Steve Szabo, WB4OMM,
reports that the ARRL Northern Florida Section will be participating. An
Exercise Plan (ExPlan) with specific participation requests to the Section ARES
leadership will be released by mid-April. Szabo states that he will be
asking each county ARES group to activate their local group, deploy members to
partner agency locations in the field, and communicate specific
information back to a central location.

Participants should plan
to use HF, VHF/UHF, Pactor, D-STAR, D-RATS, and EchoLink modes, and will be
required to use an ICS compliant message form (that will be provided).
Contact your county ARES Emergency Coordinator (EC) ASAP for local
information. Expect the ExPlan to be distributed before the 20th of April. –
ARRL Northern Florida Section News


Write Now: HR-1301
Has Special Significance for Emergency/Disaster Operators

The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2015 — H.R.1301 — has
been introduced in the US House of Representatives. The measure would direct
the FCC to extend its rules relating to reasonable accommodation of Amateur
Service communications to private land use restrictions. HR 1301 would
require the FCC to amend its Part 97 Amateur Service rules to apply the
three-part test of the PRB-1 federal pre-emption policy to include homeowners’ association
regulations and deed restrictions, often referred to as “covenants, conditions,
and restrictions” (CC&Rs). At present, PRB-1 only applies to state and local
zoning laws and ordinances. The FCC has been reluctant to extend the same
legal protections to include such private land-use agreements without
direction from Congress.

ARES members are urged to contact
their US House members and ask them to sign on to the bill as a co-sponsor.
We provide, on a volunteer basis, public service, emergency, and disaster
relief communications using radio stations located in our homes. Our
services cost taxpayers nothing. They are provided at no cost to any served agency
or to any government entity. FEMA has stated that when Amateur Radio
operators are needed in an emergency or disaster, they are really needed.

Land use restrictions that prohibit the installation of
outdoor antenna systems are the largest threat to Amateur Radio emergency and
public service communications. — ARRL


ARES Participates in Indiana Health Care Department Exercise

On March 14, 2015 the Hendricks County (Indiana) ARES group
(HCARES) was invited by the Hendricks Regional Hospital to participate in the county’s Family
Assistance Center (FAC) exercise. This exercise was sponsored by the
Hendricks County Health Department.

The hospital has had an
Amateur Radio station installed at its facility since 2012. Administrators
wanted HCARES to participate in passing health and welfare messages between
the hospital and the Danville Community High School, where the FAC was

The hospital’s Emergency Planning Facilitator and
Hendricks County ARES Emergency Coordinator and Assistant RACES Radio Officer
Ron Burke, KB9DJA, had put together a plan to set-up an Amateur Radio
station at the high school that would send health and welfare messages to the
radio amateurs positioned at the hospital.

Burke and
operators deployed one of their remote portable go kits, (a “Pig”) to set up
in a classroom at the high school. Commercial power was employed and a
Jetstream JTB3 dual band antenna was put up.

Chris Harrison, KD9BIX,
operates the “Pig,” Family Assistance Center 2015 exercise. (photo courtesy

The JTB3 is a short
base antenna with excellent gain for its height of six feet.

All radio amateurs were positioned at their assigned posts when the
exercise commenced. The scenario was that a school bus of forty children
overturned, causing casualties and several deaths. This was a mock disaster
where over forty participants from local and state government along with Medical Reserve Corps (MRC) volunteers played a part, including the County

During the exercise at the high school, a
walk-in tour by several local and state officials involved observation of the
Amateur Radio station operation. Burke explained to the group what they
were hearing when a hand went up and an official asked, “So you can use
Amateur Radio to pass messages when normal lines of communication are up but
busy?” Burke replied affirmatively, but only if the other end of the
communication had an Amateur Radio station nearby to receive the message/information.
Last year, the hospital was trying to get through to another hospital
during an exercise, when all they got was a busy signal and could not reach the
intended recipient with an emergency statement. They used Amateur Radio
instead to get the message through. Burke also explained that “we would also
be called on during an emergency when the normal lines of communication are
completely down.” – Thanks, Ron Burke KB9DJA, Hendricks County
(Indiana) ARES EC and RACES Assistant RO


Issues New Release of Firmware for Linksys and Ubiquiti

Broadband-Hamnet (BBHN) has released version 3.1.0 firmware for the
Linksys WRT54G and Ubiquiti families of products. This firmware returns to the
use of patch updates, while also supporting add-on tools such as HamChat
created by VE3NKL and a tunneling solution optimized by K5DLQ. This firmware
release continues support for emergency communications data networking in
the 2.4 GHz, 5 GHz and 900 MHz bands using Ubiquiti equipment and in the 2.4
GHz band using Linksys equipment. By creating solutions with Commercial Off
The Shelf (COTS) hardware and Broadband-Hamnet firmware, a high-speed IP
network can be deployed in the time required to set it in place and power it

There have been many requests for tunneling
capability to allow interaction between remote Broadband-Hamnet networks. While
this has been done before, the resources and complexity were quite high.
With the new VTUN capability this feature becomes feasible for all
Broadband-Hamnet users.

The HamChat server is a real innovation
that allows keyboard-to-keyboard chats between any connected users on the
same mesh. By using your web browser instead of chat client software, the
complexity is reduced and the speed to deploy is increased. The HamChat server
is not installed but is a downloadable package option for the
Broadband-Hamnet 3.1.0 firmware.

The organization hopes that hams
interested in high-speed data networks will look at the new Broadband-Hamnet
3.1.0 firmware. For more information, click on the group’s website:


Letters: On-Line Training Courses

I know that there have been several instances where
on-line training programs developed by ARES and/or RACES units in various
states and counties have been mentioned either in QST or the ARES
E-Letter. As I recall, these have generally been descriptions of
individual programs, but I don’t remember ever seeing any list covering multiple
programs all in one place.

I was wondering if there is
such a list. If not, would you consider soliciting such information via the
ARES E-Letter and then making the list available through a latter
issue of the letter?

From what I have seen, many of
these on-line programs are open to all licensed amateurs with an interest in
emergency communications, not just members of the specific unit. I think a
compendium of such training resources would be valuable to the entire
emergency communications community. — Tom Currie, N4AOF, Louisville, Kentucky
[Currie is a member of the Louisville-Jefferson County (Kentucky)
RACES; Communications Officer, Southwest Branch, Louisville Area Chapter,
American Red Cross; Secretary, Kentucky Voluntary Organizations Active in
Disaster (KyVOAD); and President, Louisville METRO-REACT Team].


Feedback: Lubricating Ends of Mast Sections

Regarding the following that appeared in last month’s issue: “When
setting up a field antenna, use a spray can of silicon or graphite to
lubricate the ends of your mast sections. You will find it much easier to
disconnect the sections when you are ready to tear down. — KB0H”

Most graphite compounds that I’ve seen are conductive, and should
not be used on any kind of electrical connection. Granted, that with
extreme care to insure there is NO graphite bridging the shield to the conductor
in a coax or other connector, it would not be a problem. BUT, with typical
“seepage” and lack of care when applying graphite to an RF assembly, I
would advise against using graphite. I use pure silicon grease, available at
many auto parts dealers. — Alton Higgins, W4VFZ, ARES Emergency
Coordinator, Towns County, Georgia; FEMA/Georgia state EMA ESF2 for Towns


Profiles: Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator
Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV

Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV, has
been the Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) since January
2009. CT ARES currently has over 750 registered members supporting the five
Connecticut Division of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (CT DEMHS)
Regions and SKYWARN. From 2005 to 2008 he was the District Emergency
Coordinator (DEC) for Region 4 (Eastern Connecticut). During TOPOFF 3 in 2005 he
was the primary tactical Net Control Station for the nearly 100 amateurs
who supported this week long national level exercise.

Annually, Wayne is the organizer of Amateur Radio support for numerous public
service events including AngelRide, a 135 mile charity bike ride that
supports Paul Newman’s Hole in the Wall Gang Camp, a specialized summer camp
for children with life-threatening diseases. Wayne assisted Region 4 ARES in
obtaining grant funding to build a mobile communications unit (MCU) that
deploys to support public service events and is available for emergency
response if needed by the American Red Cross and other partner agencies.

Thanks to the Connecticut State Police Amateur Radio Club
(W1SP) and many other Amateur Radio clubs, individual amateurs, and a few
municipalities, CT ARES now has a Digital Mobile Radio (DMR) network to support
emergency and disaster operations. Thirty networked repeaters provide
nearly complete coverage of the entire state. In addition to a statewide Talk
Group, several user activated Talk Groups permit the configuration of
tactical sub-networks at the Region and local levels. More details about this
network can be found here.

First licensed as a Novice in 1963 with call WN2GID,
Wayne currently holds an Amateur Extra class license. He is active in
emergency communications, data, and digital voice communications. He is

ARRL Connecticut Section Emergency Coordinator Wayne Gronlund, N1CLV.

certified as a FEMA Type 3
Communications Unit Leader (COML) and Communications Technician (COMT). He is
Secretarial Administrator for the Region 4 Incident Management Team
(CT-IMT4) and a crew member for the Region 4 Mobile Communications Vehicle (MCV4).
He is currently Co-Chair of ESF-2 Communications for Region 4. In his role
as CT ARES SEC, he sits as a member of the state’s interoperability
executive committee.

Wayne is a retired U. S. Coast Guard
Captain, having commanded Coast Guard Cutter CAPE GULL and Coast Guard Group
Atlantic City, New Jersey. He is Professor Emeritus from the U. S. Coast
Guard Academy where he taught chemistry for 25 years. He has served as
Navigator and Deck Watch Officer on Barque EAGLE, the Academy’s square-rigged
training vessel. After retiring from active duty in 2000, he was President of
the Coast Guard Academy Alumni Association for four years where he raised
funds to support excellence at the Academy. In 2004 he became Manager of the
Coast Guard Marine Safety Lab, the Coast Guard’s forensic laboratory for
fingerprinting oil spills and determining their source. He retired in 2013
with a total of 48 years of service to the Coast Guard.

Wayne has a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering from the Coast Guard
Academy. He earned a Master’s in Physical Science and a PhD in Chemistry
from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut.

Connecticut Section Manager Betsey Doane, K1EIC, says “It’s really been a
privilege having Wayne as my SEC. He’s got lots of support here. He’s


What is DMR?

Digital Mobile
Radio (DMR) was developed by the European Telecommunications Standards
Institute (ETSI) and is used worldwide by professional mobile radio users.
Voice and data are supported.

There are three levels of
involvement in DMR. The first is as a user, where you begin with a single
radio, and later, possibly you’ll add a second or third. The next level is as a
repeater operator. You generally undertake this because there are no
repeaters in your area or because you want better coverage. The third level of
DMR participation is as a network operator — you purchase and manage your
own c-Bridge™ and build regional networks that interconnect to the
other DMR networks.

Amateurs are implementing Mototrbo™
and Hytera
infrastructure networks. These networks, from the end user standpoint, operate the
same. Amateur Mototrbo™ networks are much larger, cover many more
areas, and most are interconnected. Not all the amateur DMR repeaters are
connected to the wide area networks; some are standalone either because
amateurs have yet to obtain an ISP connection at their repeater site or because
they just want to use the repeater for local communications. Some
standalone systems are operating in dual-mode (analog/digital).

Talk Groups (TG) are a way for groups of users to share a “time slot”
(channel, one-to-many) without distracting and disrupting other users of the
time slot. It should be noted that only one Talk Group can be using a time
slot at a time. If your radio is not programmed to listen to a Talk Group, you
will not hear that Talk Group’s traffic.

There are
many sources of new and used DMR radios. As of this date, you can’t walk into
an Amateur Radio store and buy a DMR radio, but that may soon change.
Presently all DMR radios are professional (commercial) radios marketed primarily
to commercial radio users. If you want to purchase a new DMR radio for ham
use, you can easily find a dealer, and some dealers are “ham friendly” and
will offer reasonable discounts to hams. Check with other DMR users or on
DMR related websites for further information.

When you
make an initial transmission to announce your availability, to place a call
to another station, or to make a general call, you should also announce
what Talk Group you are on because some users may be scanning or have radios
without a display. When you are talking on one of the wide area Talk
Groups, hundreds of repeaters will be tied up. If you are unable to move to a
more localized Talk Group, be considerate of the other users on the network.
Talk Groups share time slots. When one Talk Group is active; other Talk
Groups on the same time slot will be blocked. Leave space between transmissions
so others can break in. Remember that emergency traffic always has
priority over all other traffic.

[The above was excerpted and
reproduced from the Amateur Radio Guide to DMR by John S.
Burningham, W2XAB, October 2014 edition, with permission of the author. You
can read the entire guidebook here. – ed.]



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