ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-06-11

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Jun 11, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    Weekly Image
    The first picture sent in the Sunday Night Digital Broadcast

    An ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments
    As best as I can figure this is the 150th time I have sent this Sunday Night Bulletin...
    - The problem is that "In The Beginning" there was chaos. This was also called the Sunday Night Digital Broadcast. Going back through the records I started this in July 2014. It was just a collection of stuff and it was sent using text files that I managed to cobble together. The modem used was MFSK-32 because we were not sure exactly what would go through the repeater successfully. Frankly, it was a mess.

    The first sending was done using the MFSK-32 for the simple reason I wanted people to read it while it was being sent. It also allowed for the sending of some picture images using MFSK-32. The main reason was to allow everyone to have something interesting to read while they were getting used to Fldigi. Some folks are now comfortable with Fldigi but some still haven't gotten there. And it was supposed to be a fun exercise which I hope it still is. Hey, it is fun for me or I would not be doing it right now.

    So the other day I was looking for something that I had used before and I plowed back into the archives which would not be there if W3LR had not told me to start keeping these things. As things went on I was glad I did but all I have from July 2014 to October 2014 just as a random bunch of files and the only good thing is they are dated. That is as long as I don't modify them. There are a lot of Fldigi tips, stories, and other items in the archive.

    The First Images....
    These are from May of 2014. The only way I knew of sending images was using MFSK-32 which resulted in some very small pictures. More time was spent figuring out how long it would take so I didn't time out the repeater..


    That was sent for the Murgas ARC Foxhunt in May.

    Looking back at the size of the images I can see that there are original files that are more than a megabyte in size and the finished product that got it down to 25 kilobytes for the transmission. MFSK-32 has an algorithm for calculating the transmission time that uses pixels multiplied by the time. It was close but the only way to check was to turn off the radio and send it. Less then 3 minutes and it was good to go.

    Since KB3VS and I just finished the Ultramarathon I can't help but include a picture from the first one that I did. Here is the view looking down Cold Run Road.


    If you can see it that is the antenna on top of the Subaru. The 6 meter ground plane is quite a change from that one. Just like the broadcast evolved into the current bulletin. It was a learning experience with Fldigi.

    Over the duration of the Sunday Bulletin/Broadcast over 1 Gigabyte of pictures have been uploaded to you, the reader. With the advent of the web site a trick was used. The pix are uploaded to the web site and just referenced by the code in this web page. That is a double edged sword. I had to be very selective about content in the beginning but now I have pretty much unlimited ability to send pix since they are not contained the bulletin. That allowed me to be a bit more wordy and hopefully more informative.

    (LCARES Challenge - email the number of this bulletin to

    Speaking of the words....
    - That 3 minute repeater timer was always a limiting factor for the bulletin. In the beginning I would write a lot of words and then have to break it up into individual text files that would not exceed 3 minutes on the air. The "Operating in a Tactical Net" took 25 individual files to get the entire text over the air.

    Since we are starting the 2017 Hurricane Season here is the 2014 Hurricane Season Announcement...

    It is Hurricane Season...
    Hurricane Web Sites:
    National Hurricane Center:

    Tropical Tidbits:

    The 14300 web site:
    New on 9/7/2014 - the 14300 web site featues the Maritime Mobile
    Service Net, the Intercon Net, and the Pacific Seafarers' Net.
    While not as active as in years past it is still a place to listen
    for weather action. Nothing like ships at sea to create some
    interesting listening. There is a live sound feed at the site.

    Net schedules for all listed nets will be sent in a spreadsheet file
    at the end of the broadcast.

    de wn3lif

    It was short and sweet. Of course that might be better than being long winded.

    Depending on the content there could be as many as 25 text files in the macro. As I learned more about how Fldigi worked and the macros there was a tad more sophistication. Still it was an exercise in timing because the broadcasts were still done using macros and text. Here is the beginning of the bulletin from February 8, 2015....

    Item 5. Weekly paNBEMS Bulletin.

    Insert paNBEMS bulletin here....


    Item 6. Weekly NBEMS Training Messages.

    The following messages contain information on the procedures to join and operate in a pa NBEMS net. There are 73 of them. You can keep them and refer to them as training guides. Any station missing messages can contact wn3lif to arrange the sending of missed messages.

    These messages will open the flmsg program to display the message when the transmission is complete. If this does not happen refer to the Fldigi User's help for information on configuring NBEMS.

    de wn3lif


    de wn3lif

    Item 7. Net Schedules - updated 1/25/2015

    After reception use "Export Spreadsheet" button to save the spreadsheet. Open with any popular spreadsheet program.

    de wn3lif

    As you can see there is a liberal sprinkling of macro commands throughout the broadcast. On my end it was more like a computer program than something that was readable. The receiving end looked a lot better. The content today still has many of the same topics but the ease of sending by using HTML has made it a lot easier. The file commands above are to insert the "wrapped" context from an Flmsg. It was work but it was fun because I was learning as I went.

    I started to discover the utility in Flamp. I started sending the bulletin a second time as a text file using Flamp. And it was pretty well received so I started to work on learning more about Flamp. It was a complex program and it certainly was not straight forward or intuitive.

    There were times though that the old RTTY bug reared it's head and I kind of yearned for the old days. At Christmas Time I dug out the old RTTY graphic files and sent them. It was slow and I timed out the repeater many times but I know that the old RTTY guys like WB3FKP enjoyed seeing some of the old RTTY Art being sent again.

    Today all that work is behind me and it is much easier to send the Sunday Bulletin. There is no timing to worry about other than keeping the size of the html file to a reasonable size. I use an HTML editor to type this instead of a text editor. I don't have to worry about text files being in Linux or Windows format. Flamp is scripted to the point that I start it up on Sunday afternoon and at 9:15PM the bulletin starts. I have to be here to make the announcement that the bulletin will be sent and listen for fills at the end. I do stay longer to put the bulletin on N3LLR's forum, generate the wav file for the web site, and make sure it works.

    So this is transmission number 150 of the Sunday Night Digital Bulletin, formerly the Broadcast, and it has been a success so far. A lot of bits under the bridge. I hope that some of you got something worthwhile out all of them.

    Human Powered Generator...
    No this is not a joke. While reviewing some articles on emergency power I came across this web site.

    K-TOR specializes in human powered generation and has a wide variety of products that can charge cell phones, batteries, and give you some exercise while you do it. It is pretty interesting technology. It might be a strenuous alternative to solar charging. The main problem I see with this for me is I like to be doing two things are once. That means the hand cranked are out but the pedal versions just might have a chance. Might as well charge the HT while I am riding my recumbent bike.

    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.

    Send reception reports and comments to

    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.

Share This Page