ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-04-23

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Apr 23, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    Weekly Image
    View on the way to Forkston - click on image for larger view.
    An ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments
    The LCEMA Comm-ex...
    - Hey! It is less than 1 week to the Comm-Ex. I have heard from Dave and he has a lot of you signed up for the effort. That is great. I just hope that all those signed up to participate have completed their ICS Training. This exercise is conceived and run by the County EMA and they specify the ICS Training. I hope the N3SRO doesn't have to disappoint anyone who wants to play because of a lack of training.

    Dave should be handing out the assignments by our Tuesday Get-Together at the EOC! This looks like it will be a great challenge for all and I hope that two things come out of it. First, an awareness of what we can do! I think that you will surprise yourselves when this happens. It is going to be a hoot. Second, I really want to see if you have a can-do attitude. This is not a Rah-Rah get the first down in football type of attitude. It is an accomplish what you were assigned attitude because of pride in the job. You are good at what you do. Don't lose confidence in yourselves if something doesn't work. Work the problem. If what was planned ends up going down the wrong path then figure out why and do it again. Be proud of your attempts but don't substitute the will for the deed. Accomplish your assignment to the best that you can.

    Incident Command System Training...
    - I have heard comments that this Incident Command System (ICS) training is something that does not happen in the real world. I can perhaps take some sense of that attitude because Luzerne County is really a late adopter of ICS. The fact is that it is the STANDARD in the rest of the State. In fact it is the standard in the rest of the United States. And it is not new!

    The precepts of ICS were originally written in 1968 in Fire Chiefs Meeting in Phoenix, Arizona. It was based on the management system of the U.S. Navy and adapted to Wildfire Management in Southern California in the 70's. So it is not new and it is based in management theory that has been tested and subject to evolution analysis. ICS today is a far cry from what was originally envisioned and it is now an All-Hazards based management system. The whole focus is to put the management of an incident in the hands of those that have the incident and need the resources to deal with the incident. I was trained in ICS, not by Corporate America, but in a US Coast Guard class. Why? Simple answer is some managers with foresight knew that ICS was the way to manage incidents including security incidents. Today, ICS is taught to security teams, both physical and information, who need to respond to a security incident.

    The first time I heard about it in Luzerne County was in the 80's and it was mentioned by Kevin O'Brien who was more than ahead of his time in training and education for the Fire Service and EMA.

    It is not going away. It is used daily. And it is, without any doubt, the one thing that is universal across the spectrum of emergencies, disasters, public service events, and anything else that requires the coordination of resources to meet a need.

    In LCARES we are rather lucky because we just have to know our place in the chart (Logistics) and who we report to during an incident. We don't have to manage the incident. We are a resource. However the most disruptive thing that could happen is that an untrained individual jumps the command structure and then causes confusion and delay. The 4 ICS courses are just enough training to help us understand how ICS works so that we can contribute to the solution and not be part of the problem.

    Luzerne County EMA has stated that all its volunteers need to be ICS trained. Since they are one of our served agencies we all need to take the required ICS courses. If you, as a member of LCARES, decide that taking the training is not for you then that is your decision. If there is a spot where ICS training is not required then your services will be welcome. If not there is nothing Logistics Section Chief, the Incident Commander, or even the ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator can do.

    Please take the training and get it done. Your skills as an LCARES communicator are important. Please don't let the lack of 4 online courses limit your usefulness.

    High Frequency Relay of the LCARES Bulletin...
    - The test transmission of the April 16th Bulletin was a success again. KB3AC reported that he copied N3SRO's signal during the 10:15 broadcast on the first try for a successful receive. No missed blocks! I got it here in Duryea too. Again, done on the first go. Dave's loop antenna may be the item that is making this work so after this test we may move it to another station for a comparison test. That is if I can get Dave to let it go. It think he is enjoying this.

    I wrote a script for Flamp that sets the parameters for N3SRO and at 10:15PM it starts Flamp sending the the bulletin.

    This is what the script looks like. It is not an intuitive thing but the more I work with it the more interesting it gets and the more possibilities I can see.

    --Start of HF Flamp Script--

    FILE:"Luzerne County ARES Digital Bulletin 2017-04-16.html","Luzerne County ARES Digital Bulletin for 04-16-2017"
    EVENT TYPE:"One time at"
    EVENT TIMES:0215

    If you are familiar with Flamp you'll see familiar entries. Once I am an Expert on this I'll go into detail on how it works but for now that is what it looks like and it works. Or at least it seems to work.

    So on April 23 the re-transmission of the Sunday LCARES Bulletin will happen again. Frequency will be 3.583mHz, Center Frequency on the waterfall will be 1500Hz, and the mode will be MFSK64. The information will be sent again at the end of the VHF transmission before and after the Flmsg test.

    If you read this and can tune in at 10:15PM please do.

    HF Near Vertical Incidence Frequency Information...
    - On the LCADN I sent a message containing a large number of Web Links concerning NVIS. It was very well received so I thought I'd repeat the list here. I plan on sending more information on NVIS in the future so be sure to listen in.



    One of the best primers on NVIS I noted during the search:

    147.21 is back on the air...
    - Those of you who have been around the Wyoming Valley since the 70's will remember Carl Kollar, K3JML (SK), for many things. I remember him from his SSTV work. Carl had a repeater on top of Forkston Mountain, near Tunkhannock, PA, with the frequency of 147.21. It was one of the new repeaters that were coming online when repeaters were a real novelty. The 21 machine was a great repeater and filled a hole for the hams in Wyoming County.

    This weekend the 147.21/81 repeater lives again thanks to the efforts of Jeff Depolo, WN3A, among others. I spent a few hours up there on Friday, April 21st, helping out but the work was done by WN3A. This was the first time I had the opportunity to meet WN3A in person. By heaven that man is GOOD! I am not easily impressed. WN3A impressed me. As I have said don't tell me you're a star. Show me you're a star. I saw the star in action this weekend. This guy really knows his business.

    So sometime this weekend. Nope make that right NOW as I type this. The 147.21 repeater is alive and operating. The PL is 77.0Hz. I just keyed it up and it is there. I think that K3JML is pleased. Now I have to go update all those ICS-217a forms again. Oh well, there is good and not so good in everything.

    BTW, WN3A and N3VTH will be putting a new DMR repeater on the air shortly. I will have more information on that next week. I don't even know the frequency yet!

    (LCARES Challenge - email the 3 letter acronym for the type of training required for LCARES members to

    The LCARES/SSES Volunteer Meetings...
    Well, the meetings were held this week as planned. The first take-away for me is that post card mailings get a better response than email.

    The other take-aways from the meetings for me is that Windows is a pill where a pain can't reach but a laxative can. Finding the locations of the necessary folders was a major problem. Bloated installations of Windows that slowed PCs to a crawl was another problem. On Thursday night, K3IK couldn't do anything because his system kept locking up. It was a really frustrating evening for him and for me. For all that the guys were great and did their best but we kept fighting the Windows issues all night. The Saturday meeting had a good attendance with KB3ACO returning for a second dose. I think he took more notes than anyone.

    I want to thank all the folks that showed up for the meetings. It was all the good people that usually rally around when I need them. My thanks to all of them.

    I am going to try to find a solution to the portable computer issue. I was hoping that I would be able to have all the computers supplied by the amateurs but that appears to be a pie in the sky hope. So off I go to beg again.

    Using Fldigi to copy the Sunday Bulletin...
    The content of the meeting was to get Fldigi installed on many of the LCARES members computers. I think that I may have accomplished that for most even though they may not have laptops. That is still a major step forward. I think that what I covered will help them get their home computers up and running.

    The point is that once Fldigi is installed the reading of the bulletin is extremely easy. Total time is generally less then 5 minutes. However, getting to that point took most of the 2.5 hours that I had allocated. Again, it was not Fldigi. It was the Windows Operating System.

    There is a document on the w3luz web site that lists the steps to do the job. I am not going to put it here because if you are reading this you have accomplished the task already. After this weekend I want you to take pride in the fact that you have accomplished that.

    EPA-ARRL Web site...
    - If you have not done 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
    Thank you for copying our weekly digital information Bulletin to all Amateur Radio Operators.

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    Have a good week everyone!


    ARRL EPA Section Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    ARRL ARES Emergency Coordinator
    Luzerne County ARES
    ARES and "Amateur Radio Emergency Services" are trademarks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Organization of Amateur Radio. Use of these trademarks is by permission only.

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