ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-02-26

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Feb 26, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient

    Weekly Image
    Possible Funnel Cloud Confirmed Tornado seen from Wilkes-Barre General Hospital on February 25th, 2107
    An ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments
    Keep Fldigi Up to Date...
    During last week's LCADN I noticed that many of the members were using back dated versions of the Fldigi Suite of programs. The Sunday Night Bulletin contains a reference to the current versions of the Fldigi suite of programs. I hear many times that something is not working properly. If you ask me I will always ask what version you are on. Many times I have taken problems to the NBEMS forum only to find that they have been fixed in recent releases. Please, before you ask for help, make sure you are up to date on the current versions of Fldigi. This is especially true if you seem to be having a "unique" issue. Debugging a "one off" problem can be time consuming and fruitless. Get current and work with that before you start blaming FLDigi and its parts.

    Last Week's Venture into the Esoteric World of Networking, FLDigi, and Creativity...
    - Apparently that was a bit much for many folks to take in and digest. That is quite understandable. I didn't do it as a lark but more of a "lets see if what they say can be done." It is not what I would call easy and it was done at the surface without any consideration to the finesse that would normally be done to make the operator's life at least a little easier. However, that is not to say that the reader should not have taken something from that entire exercise. The example was a "this is what can be done." If the reader was a person who says "where can I take this" and play some "what if" games there is a lot of good that can come out of it. If the reader would state the "what if" ideas then just maybe they could be implemented and make the lives of all the operators involved easier. The reader does not have to know how to program to come up with a good idea.

    Doing It In Windows...
    At one user was inquisitive enough to ask about the script since it was a bit foreign to him. He is a Windows User and the script was in Linux.

    A quick reprise and you'll have to live with the verbiage because I deleted the example. I used a FOR loop to pick the the wrap files, put the modem commands in front of them, and, put them in one file. I swallowed some Dramamine to prevent nausea and opened up my Windows 10 system. Here is an example of how to do it in Windows. Remember, this is just an example. I'll let any of you who has the desire figure out how to make it work with the .wrap files.

    1. Create a directory (already folder) under your user name called example.

    1. In the example folder create two text files named test1.txt and test2.txt and put something inside them to identify them such as "This is the test 1 file" or similar.

    2. Create the following file and name it comb.bat

    erase /Q
    for %%i in (*.txt) do (
    @echo modem commands go here >>
    @type %%i >>
    erase /Q outgoing.txt
    rename outgoing.txt

    3. Open the cmd window by selecting "run" on the start menu and then typing cmd in the window.

    4. Change to the example directory by typing cd example and pressing Enter.

    5. type comb.bat and press Enter.

    6. You can see the results of the batch file by entering the following command - type outgoing.txt

    That will give those among you who are inquisitive something to start with.

    In Training This Week...
    - Friday, Saturday, and Sunday of this week I am sitting in a class with K3NDB, KC3IDG, and N3SRO. It is the "Fundamentals Course for Radiological Response". So this week the Bulletin is a bit abbreviated. That is probably a good thing though. The response indicates that the Bulletin is not being read so the effort of 8 hours work isn't really rewarded. I'll keep it short from now on and spend more time relaxing on Sundays.

    So the challenge for this week is to email the words "In Training" to I can't make it much plainer than that.

    Not The Way We Expected the Day to End...
    - Well, I had hoped this was going to be a short one but I guess that went out the door at 3:00PM today. February 24th, 25th, and 26th were supposed to be nice quiet days spent in a class room for N3SRO, K3NDB, KC3IDG, and WN3LIF. The four were taking the G-320, Introduction to Radiological Monitoring, class sponsored by PEMA at the Luzerne County, PA, EOC. Up to 3:00PM the day was quiet and the class was interesting but things got a lot more interesting. There had been constant Swift 911 messages about thunderstorms but nothing really ominous until the warnings about possible tornadoes started popping up. Our Deputy Director, Dave Elmore, who is a recently minted Ham (KC3IMJ) received a call about a possible tornado touch down in Pittston Township, PA. This could not have happened at a more convenient time, if a tornado is convenient at any time, since most of the Luzerne County EMA key staff was at the EOC taking the class as well.

    David needed some eyes on the situation and had Charlie Krommes, the Plains Township Emergency Management Coordinator, head to the scene in his personal vehicle. Problem was no communications. So Nick Bantell, K3NDB, volunteered to go with Charlie and provide communications back from the scene. K3NDB was equipped with one of the new Yaesu FT2DR HTs and a magnetic mount antenna. The Luzerne County ARES main repeater provided by N3FCK and N3VTH was pressed into service. After finding the scene the reports back to the EOC by ARES communications indicated that it was a possible tornado with significant damage and possible entrapment of residents.

    At the same time another report came in of another possible tornado touch down in the Mountaintop, PA, area. WN3LIF, EC for Luzerne County ARES (LCARES) and SEC for the Eastern PA section, dispatched David Kirby, N3SRO, AEC for LCARES, and John Campbell, KC3IDG, to the area to check for damage. Fortunately, none was found and the LCARES operators returned to the EOC.

    A request via Amateur Radio came in for rain suits for the EMA personnel at the scene of the incident. N3SRO again volunteered his personal vehicle and himself to take the rain suits to the scene. This was obviously becoming a major incident. WN3LIF contacted John Denisco, K3DBG, and had him start a resource net to enlist available operators to standby.

    KC3IMJ, the Deputy Director, needed to go to the scene to get things sorted out and find out what was needed. Requests for the Red Cross for sheltering and the Power Company to de-energize power lines had come and been handled at the EOC but it was time for on-scene. He needed a radio operator and that turned out to be the Section Emergency Coordinator. Time to get out of the office and into the rain. Nothing like a ride in a truck with red lights and a siren.

    At the scene our repeater coverage turned out to be spotty so at the direction of N3SRO communications switched to the N3VTH repeater, 146.88, known as the "Rock" for its location on Red Rock Mountain. The coverage problem was solved with even our HTs having excellent coverage at the scene.

    As the situation settled down the LCARES members were dismissed with Bob Kirby, N3PQP, manning the EOC until 8:00PM. N3SRO and WN3LIF remained on call for Dave, KC3IMJ, at the scene and were released by KC3IMJ at 9:30PM.

    WN3LIF would like to thank the following LCARES members for either going and doing or just being ready to go and do.

    and WB3FKP.

    Just a special note of thanks here. John, KC3IDG, was thrown in the fire as the operator at W3LUZ today. He's a relatively new Ham. Never been in a situation like this before. And when WN3LIF had to leave with the Deputy Director he rose to the occasion and did a fantastic job. The SEC is extremely proud of him and of all the LCARES members who responded.

    Under the heading of Lessons Learned - there are many. The one thing that I caution about is looking around for the lessons learned. Look in and see what you did that could be done better or what you didn't do that you should have done. After that then look around and see what else could be improved. Remember, it is not finger pointing. It is constructive. Keep it that way.

    If you have "Lessons Learned" please send them to the Luzerne County EC via email.

    Get trained. There were many operators who checked into the resource net today who would not have been usable. The operator's will cannot be substituted for the training deed. Period. No excuses. The old days of Hat on Head and Radio in Hand are over. Get registered, get your training, and be ready.

    There are other lessons that were learned today because the LCARES got lucky. The fact that there were members at the EOC when the incident started kept response time to a minimum. Riding with the Lights and Siren guys helped get the LCARES members where they were needed to go quickly. The LCARES members who were sent to the scene were, without any doubt in the EC's mind, those who had the personalities to make things work. The resource net run by K3DBG worked perfectly. Again, K3DBG showed his ability as an NCS! And none of them were experienced at this kind of thing. They just knew what needed to be done and did it. The EC just needed to assign and they went. No one could ask for more.

    The praise from the Luzerne County EMA Director, Lucy Morgan, for the outstanding way the LCARES members handled themselves today was proof that they rose to the occasion. Communications at its best. "You guys really came through for me today! I can't thank you enough." said David Elmore, KC3IMJ, Luzerne County Deputy Director.

    And as Charlie K, who usually can find something wrong with anything, said "I'll take those guys with me to any incident!"

    EPA-ARRL Web site...
    If you have not do it yet then what are you waiting for? Get to the EPA-ARRL web site and either submit your email address or like it on Facebook. It is the place to get the information and news about the EPA Section.

    Ham Radio Links
    N3LLR's Ham Radio Forum
    ARRL Eastern PA Section Web Site
    Luzerne County ARESĀ©
    Harris County Texas ARES - A great training resource
    Lake County (OH) RACES Personal Go-Kit for Emergency Operations - KE7LHR
    MecklenBurg County ARES and RACES
    K0BG - The Website for Mobile Amateur Radio Operators (Perhaps the best web site on mobile operations I have found!)
    Origins of Ham Speak - Fact, Legends, and Myths??? - Compiled by AC6V from the Internet and other unreliable sources
    The Petite Prepper
    The VOA Radiogram
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    Have a good week everyone!

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