The ARES E-Letter for December 16, 2015


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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