ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-10-08

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Oct 8, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    An ARRL ARES® Communicator's Comments
    Thank You to the LCARES Members...
    - Again I want to thank those LCARES members who responded to the call on Thursday night to help at the EOC. I could not be there because of Doctor's appointments. The move just had to happen on that day of the month when I have to be selfish and do what I need to do. In any case a big THANK YOU to:

    Also responding but could not be of help:

    Thanks to both of them as well.

    I used the SMS text messaging for the request and it seemed to work rather well. The limiting issue is the "only 20 at one time" restraint. And it would be nice if I could forward the first message so I don't have to spend time rekeying it for the next group. There has to be a way to do that but as of yet I have not found it on this blankety blank phone. Smart Phone - Baah!

    Puerto Rico Emergency Traffic...
    - The ARRL has been sending reminders in their bulletins about keeping certain frequencies clear. Primarily it is on 20 meters and in particular 14.265MHz. I have been listening and as far as I can tell this has been being observed by all except for one N6** station last night who was participating in a contest. He was at 14.266 trying to work a KG4 station. Fortunately it appeared that PR had shutdown for the evening.However, this morning he was back at it again. What was worse were stations in Florida were answering him.

    But that is one of those things that are put under the heading "such is life." Not all Amateur Radio Operators pick their heads up and look around to see what else is happening in the world. When they do look around they only look at things of interest to them. Not all Amateur Radio operators belong to the ARRL for one reason or another. That means they may not be getting the bulletins about the frequencies in use. Or if they are getting them then they choose to ignore the request which is their prerogative. No emergency allocation was declared by the FCC so it is not illegal for them to operate on any frequency that their class of license permits. So if they happen to choose that particular area to operate then it is only done in bad taste and not a violation of the rules and regs.

    There is only one thing worse and that is being a frequency cop and telling them to move to another frequency. The bands don't need any more frequency cops. If there are stations passing emergency/priority/H&W traffic then they can ask the other stations to please move or ask another station to relay their request. If the other station chooses not to then unless it is a real emergency under the definition of the FCC rules there isn't much that can be done.

    But that is the reason for the big knob on the front of the radios.

    Of course, when I hear an JT65 signal on 60 meters I really have to wonder about that operator.

    Just a follow-up on the "You've Been Chosen To Go" theme from last week...
    - If you remember last's week's bulletin then you remember that I listed the things that someone heading to PR might need and the conditions that they might encounter. I was told by one of the readers that I was kind of nuts when I mentioned that doom and gloom scenario because he had been to PR and the city of San Juan was wonderful and the beaches were great. I had the some satisfaction from the bulletin that came out of the ARRL on Monday. Here are some excerpts from it....

    "Their first night, a local church offered accommodations, and volunteers slept on pews that had been pushed together."
    "The electric distribution infrastructure suffered extreme storm damage, and power has remains out over most of the island. "
    “The city water system has failed over the past 24 hours, and water is a critical need and the first item mentioned,”
    “We were told that they are seeing ulcers, spider bites, patients needing oxygen, congestion and coughs,” they said. “They have not had any patients presenting with fevers or other signs of illness/disease related to sanitation however; with the failure of the municipal water system, that is a concern.”
    So the situation was close to what I described. I don't take any joy in being right about the problems of others.

    BTW, putting that image up just gave me the willies big time. I hate spiders. I'd sooner sleep with a snake than be around a spider.

    Conditions Today in PR According to FEMA...
    - This morning's PEMA update contained the following conditions in PR & USVI...

    o PR: 18.1% cell service restored; All carriers opened roaming on their networks allowing customers can take advantage of restored cells sites, regardless of carrier
    o USVI: 42.1% cell service restored; St. Thomas: 49% cell service restored; St.John: No cell sites operational; St. Croix: 41.3% cell service restored

    Looking at those conditions the cell phone service is only 18.1% of what is should be. St. Thomas & St. Croix are in better shape but St. John island is still without the ubiquitous cell phone. My neighbor's son would be bouncing off the wall demanding action now.

    Lets look at power outages. Remember that Maria struck PR on September 20th.

    Power Outages / Restoration
    o PR: 11.7% with electricity; Generators: Completed 209 of 303 requested generator pre-installation inspections; 38 installed/206 on hand/343 en route
    o USVI: Customers on the power grid: St. Thomas 14.4%, St. John 0%; St. Croix 12%; Generators: 41 installed; 6 de-installed; 46 available on island; 41 required

    So in PR only 11.7% of the population has normal electric service. Everything else is generator dependent. They have to inspect the places were generators will be installed. That is taking a long time. So far only 38 generators have been installed but they have 206 ready to install with 343 on the way. Same conditions in St. Thoma and St. Croix. St John has no commercial power to customers yet.

    OK next is medical facilities...

    Health & Medical
    o PR: 65 of 67 hospitals open (35 hospitals connected to grid power, 29 functioning on generator power, and 1 operating without power); PR Department of Health, FEMA, HHS, and DoD established a 24/7 medical operations cell ensuring timely response to emergent medical needs
    o USVI: St. Croix: United States Medical Corps providing interim support to hospitals on St. Thomas and St. Croix; Advanced party of the 575th Area Support Medical Company

    This shows some good progress and it shows where the emphasis has been to restore normalcy. More than 50% have had commercial power restored and the rest on generator. But there is that 1 that is still out of power. BTW, the United States Medical Corps is a branch of the US Public Health Service. It is administered by the Surgeon General of the United States.

    It is 18 days since Hurricane Maria swept through the Islands. The question should be can you survive for 18 or more days without the help of the government? You could ask if it would be different here if a hurricane of Maria's size struck Luzerne County? There are a lot of factors that make conditions different. The housing conditions here come to mind. For the most part the infrastructure is better maintained. We're closer to help. The local and state governments have really prepared for any kind of emergency. But there is still the issue of a disaster of such magnitude causing longer term recovery than we have come to expect. The flood of 2011 barely phased many of us who were away from the Susquehanna but 20+ inches of rain in 24 hours would certainly flood my basement.

    I can't say that we would be better off than PR in the event of a Maria size hurricane affecting us. Might be time for a Threat Assessment seminar. In any case, the ARES Field Operations Guide says 72 hours. Might want to consider 432 hours as an extreme. That is what 18 days equates to in hours.

    Hurricane Nate...
    - Right now Hurricane Nate is a Tropical Storm. The latest from the NWS indicates that it will be a complete rain event for us. Small stream flooding and some localized flash flooding but the Susquehanna isn't going to go anywhere.

    100% Operational...
    Need a new name for those who are 100% Operational. Any suggestions? Let the EC know.

    Photo of Radios on the New York City Radio Station site...
    - I appreciate the publicity that is given to Amateur Radio. This is one of the better things for Amateur Radio even though I don't like the fact that so many are suffering. It is just a lucky off shoot of the disaster for us.

    I had to laugh when I saw this picture on a NYC radio station web site though.

    Talk about ancient equipment. A very old 23 channel Royce CB set and an old Realistic (Old Radio Shack brand) 10 meter transceiver. Well, the topic was "Hams to the Rescue in Puerto Rico" so I'll forgive them for their slight photographic faux paus.

    Next Week....
    I think the messages about PR have gotten through and we've heard enough. One of the problems I used to have when I traveled was constantly listening to the news cast on Satellite Radio. It got to be depressing. So I think next week it is time to change the tone of things a bit. Halloween is coming and since that is my favorite Holiday I think I'll find some things to say about that.

    Have a very good week!

    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.

    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 registered service marks owned by the American Radio Relay League, The National Association of Amateur Radio. Use of these service marks is by permission only.

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