ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-05-28

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, May 28, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    Weekly Image

    Soldiers from the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) participate in the “Flags-In” mission at Arlington National Cemetery, Va., May 25, 2017. Soldiers placed an American flag at every grave marker in the cemetery. The Old Guard has conducted this mission annually at Arlington National Cemetery prior to Memorial Day. Army photo by Sgt. Nicholas T. Holmes

    An ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments
    New LCARES Message Handling Training Procedure...
    - What follows is the new LCARES Message Handling Training procedures. The old method of taking them on the net still exists. The new method will allow LCARES members to take the messages when ever they can with another LCARES member. That includes taking them on the LCARES voice net. The sticking point is that if the member decides to take them using Option B then they have to complete the training that way. They can take them on the LCARES Net and from other members but they have to comply with the written record of the messages taken and take the "final exam" portion. Here is the detail from a message that was sent on the LCADN last week.

    Message Training – May 23, 2017

    The Message Training is part of our preparations to be 100% Operational.

    The 100% is made up of the following:

    ICS-100 Introduction to the Incident Command System
    ICS-200 ICS for Single Resources and Initial Action Events
    IS-700 National Incident Management System, An Introduction
    IS-800 National Response Framework, An Introduction
    LCARES Message Handling Training

    This is the current requirement for being listed as 100% Operational and that may change in the future. Future additions may include Radio Readiness Test which will be a check to see if the LCARES member has the frequencies listed on the ICS-217a in his/her radio, a check out procedure to see if the member has the ability to send an APRS message using the FT-2DR radios, a test on LCARES Operations Manual, and a Digital Operations Review. These are still under consideration.

    The fact that many of our members have issues making the Tuesday Night Voice Net to take the training messages has produced the need for an alternative. For that reason I am instituting the following change to the Message Training to provide an alternative training method.

    Effective immediately:

    To acquire the LCARES Message Training Certificate the LCARES Member can choose from one of the two following options:

    Option A:

    Receive the 73 Training Messages on the air during the regularly scheduled LCARES Voice Net.


    Option B

    1. The LCARES Member may take Training Messages 1 through 72 from any other LCARES Member at a time convenient to the LCARES Members involved. (Note: This includes requesting them during the LCARES Voice Net.)

    2. All Training Messages must be sent on the air and via radio. The frequencies used are up to the discretion of the LCARES Members involved including requesting messages during the LCARES Voice Net.

    3. All Training Messages must be taken even if the member has taken messages on the LCARES voice net. This means the training for Option B starts at message 1.

    4. The LCARES member will keep a record that includes the text as received of all the messages in sequence in his/her own handwriting. Typed copies are not acceptable. Corrections requiring fills must be noted with the message. This record will be submitted to the LCARES EC for validation and will include messages 1 to 72 of the Training Messages.

    5. Following any message passing session the LCARES members involved must send an email to the LCARES EC stating the time and date of the session, the duration, the starting message number received, the ending message number received, the starting message number sent, and the ending message number sent.

    6. The Final Message (number 73) must be taken from the LCARES EC on the air and one original message composed by the LCARES member must be sent to the LCARES EC on the air.

    7. The LCARES member must complete a 20 Question written exam with a 70% score in the presence of the LCARES EC without the benefit of any assistance.

    8. Once Option B is started reversion to Option A is not allowed.

    Final Comments - There will be no "gang sending" which means that a message must be sent individual to individual. One person cannot send a message to two stations at the same time. Sending stations must be sure to keep a record of what messages were sent on what dates and times. I have increased the available times to taking the messages. I have not relaxed the quality.

    ICS Training...
    I am very happy to report that more of our LCARES members are getting close to their completion of the ICS Training. K2OZO has now completed his 4 courses. K3IK has one left. This is really good to see.

    Net Operations...
    - One of the epiphanies that I came to while preparing the "Tornado Presentation" is our nets are using procedures that are 100 years old. Training is a good thing but I have been found of saying that you have to practice the correct way or all you do is get good at doing the wrong thing. The use of tactical callsigns was started but it is rather awkward to practice even though it does need to be practiced. The over identification problem is still rampant with us including yours truly. I have noticed that we don't over do it when we have a round table conversation so why do we do it during our nets? So I am working on something that will perhaps develop better habits. Messages still need to be sent but we should learn to do it without the Net Control having to act as a traffic cop.

    There is a term called a "Free Net" which means that the net stations can interact with each other directly to get the business of the net accomplished. It is not a difficult concept. If the net was not in progress then you would call the other station, talk to them, and clear the frequency. It happens every day. The only difference is that during a "Free Net" the NCS is still there to either help or sort things out. On VHF using a repeater it is not so hard to do. On HF it becomes the NCS's job to relay during bad conditions, help stations figure out who should get the traffic, and so on. I am working on something to allow that to happen but it will take some thought and education first. There is still some things such as the announcements and check-in process that need the NCS to run the show.

    Time Wasters On The Air...
    - Sounds like the title of an old time radio program. There is plenty of time to chat. Always will be. Except when there is something important to be done. One of the biggest time wasters is excessive identifying. Part 97 says that we have to identify at the end of our exchange and at least every 10 minutes. Simple enough. So technically I can call KB3VS like this; "Bob I have a message for you. Can you take it now?" and even put the prosign OVER at the end. Bob can respond with "WT I am ready to copy OVER" and I proceed to send the message. At the end Bob can simply say "KB3VS" and I can say "WN3LIF" and we have accomplished the letter of the law. That is if it doesn't take over 10 minutes. Of course, with the number of "Bobs" using a call sign might save confusion but I think you get my point. A single channel resource which is what a repeater is needs to be "shared" as often as possible during an emergency. Doing everything we can to avoid time wasters is important.

    Nescopeck Duathlon...
    - Today the Nescopeck Duathlon was held. I didn't get much of a chance to take pictures because my location was, well, in the woods. Help was provided by N3RN, KC3HLT, KC3FKW, K3DBG, and KC3BXS.

    I know that I gave most of the hard work to KC3HLT today. He did a great job right down to finding two missing girls who just happened to be in front of him when the request came in. Saved a lot of worry on the father's part and their brother who was working at my location. Thanks Bill for a good job. And thanks to the guys that manned the turn around points on Honey Hole Road.

    My location involved a bit of a hike. Not all that arduous and rather enjoying. It was a bit of an up and down trail with a lot of rocks to walk on but since the Taffster gives me a good bit of exercise it was a piece of cake. I took what I needed in my back pack along with my camp chair and had a easy time of it. I hate to say it but the view made the walk even more enjoyable. Just look at these pictures. You click on each for a larger view.

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]

    I think I had the best spot of the Duathlon today. I had a good crew working with me and they were a lot of fun.
    Memorial Day...
    - Memorial Day is always a somber time of year for me. I have been told that time and distance make it easier but it doesn't seem to work for me. I certainly wish that was true but the faces and names pop up and there isn't much I can do to put them out of my mind. It is what it is I guess.

    I was looking for a good image to put in here and I happened to come across and article about the 3rd U.S. Infantry Regiment that is better known as the "Old Guard" and is rather famous. A regiment, in the structure of the Army, falls between a Division and a Battalion and usually has between 2,000 and 4,000 members. To soldiers who serve longer than the minimum requirement there is a certain pride in "belonging to the Regiment." In Britain, where the Army is a social institution, being a member of the Regiment is not granted but earned. It is a bond that carries lifetime implications of service and loyalty to the Regiment. The Regiment is loyal to the Monarchy and the Government. The soldier is loyal to the Regiment.

    In this day of temporary formations which are usually short lived the Regiment tends to last and have permanence. It is a without a doubt the focal point of many soldiers. When asked what outfit they reply with the name of their regiment or brigade such as "87th Infantry Regiment" which was part of the famed 10th Mountain Division and to which my Father-in-Law belonged. It wasn't until I looked up the 87th that I found that out. There is lineage that starts in April of 1945 and goes till today. You can see that the 87th was shuffled around but it still existed and as such it was that one point that soldiers of the 87th used as their bond.

    Our Navy does not have regiments but it has ships. One of my friends, Tom Jones (no relation), always talks about his ship the USS Forrestal. That was his "regiment" and he still attends reunions of the ship's complement. He never calls it the crew but the complement because he says that "complement" is more than a crew. It is what makes the ship complete. His bond with the ship and his mates is something that does not end even though the Forrestal was scrapped by the Navy. As Tom says the Spirit of the Forrestal lives with its complement. (LCARES Challenge - email the number of the training message that must be taken from the EC to complete one of the final message training requirements to

    It is a bond that many who were not in the military cannot fathom. The best example I can think of is the U.S. Marine Corps. The phrase "Once a Marine, Always a Marine" states simply that a person who has earned the right to be called a Marine never stops being a Marine even after separation from "The Corps". It is a strange thing that stirs in Veteran. No matter how rotten his tour was he was still part of something greater at one time in his life. It is a certain amount of pride that all who have served take in the fact they have served. And even when a certain former Air Force Radar Tech talks jokingly about "protecting Wilkes-Barre from Enemy Bombs" you can hear tinge of pride in the words. His bond with the Air Force is still there and he is proud of it.

    There comes a time when all old service men and women must follow that same path as those who went before them. It is something that cannot be changed. However, that bond that exists never seems to be snuffed out even by death. The grave markers still proudly declare that the remains that lie here belong to a regiment, ship, division, or even just the Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, or Coast Guard. Not belonged, not past tense. Belong. That is one of the reasons that the final honors that is paid to Service Men and Women on the day of their interment is not performed as an obligation that needs to be fulfilled. It is a final act of comradeship to honor them. The bond is not broken with death. It is made stronger by those who take the time to remember. Whether it be a fellow member of the Regiment or a civilian who takes the time to pause at the grave site.

    Take time this Memorial Day to remember. Keep the bond and the faith alive with those who have gone on before us. It is the least we can do for them.

    At left, Retired Army Col. Ben Skardon, 99, a survivor of the Bataan Death March, salutes Henry Leitner's headstone in Clemson University's Scroll of Honor during a flag-placing ceremony in preparation for Memorial Day observances, May 25, 2017. Leitner and Skardon, both Clemson alumni, survived the infamous Bataan Death March and were prisoners of war together. Army Reserve photo by Staff Sgt. Ken Scar

    My apologies if you came looking for something Amateur Radio related. Memorial Day kind of overshadows Ham Radio today.

    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 ARES©
    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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