ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2017-10-22

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Oct 22, 2017.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    October Monthly Message Challenge Results...
    Number Message LCARES LCADN
    1 How many fire companies are now on scene because of the initial response KC3FKW

    2 What time will mutual aid relief be needed on scene

    3 Request a doctor be sent to medical command to assist with fire fighter treatment N3RN

    4 Tell Red Cross how many people will possibly need shelter

    5 Inform Red Cross of the amount time the shelter will need to be open

    6 Tell the County EOC what the size of the evacuation area is
    7 Request the number of needed buses for the day care evacuation K3IK

    8 Request additional communications support from comm center for the fire chief

    9 Tell the Red Cross Director where the shelter is to be established

    10 Relay the location of medical command to the EOC

    Weekly Image
    Lamp Cord For Antennas

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Caribbean Telecommunications Union Head Calls for "New Generation" of Hams!
    - 10/16/2017
    In remarks made on International Disaster Reduction Day, Friday, October 13, Caribbean Telecommunications Union (CTU) Secretary-General Bernadette Lewis described Amateur Radio as a “bedrock of sustained communications” during emergencies, and strongly suggested cultivating a new and younger generation of radio amateurs to carry this role forward. She spoke as part of a panel on emergency telecommunications during the International Telecommunication Union (ITU) World Telecommunication Development Conference 2017 (WTDC-17), now under way in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The CTU, she said, has been considering the role of Amateur Radio in light of this “very, very, violent hurricane season.”

    “Amateur Radio has been a staple, and it is because of…the Amateur Radio operators in the region that we get a lot of the information that we need,” she told her audience. Her presentation defined Amateur Radio as one component of the coordination of preparedness, response, and recovery efforts on the part of national emergency management agencies.

    Moderator Vanessa Gray later asked Lewis what “one concrete step” could be taken to make better use of information and communication technologies (ICT) for disaster management.

    “We really have to cultivate a new generation of Amateur Radio operators,” Lewis replied without hesitation. “We found that they are all on the northern side of 50.” (WN3LIF Note: Ya Think!)

    “Amateur Radio has been the bedrock of sustained communications during such emergencies,” she continued, “and one of the things we’re looking at is actually facilitating this process of having a network of disaster-resistant centers that that, in times when you don’t have a disaster, could be used for training new operators and generating that interest across the region.”

    Lewis, of Trinidad and Tobago, reiterated her remarks in condensed form during a subsequent interview, in which she called hurricanes “a fact of life” for Caribbean countries, and suggested that hurricane-devastated countries need to think carefully about how to rebuild their infrastructure to make it less prone to storm damage.

    WTDC-17, which continues through October 20, considers topics, projects and programs relevant to telecommunication development. The conference theme this year is “ICT for Sustainable Development Goals.” ARRL Technical Relations Specialist Jon Siverling, WB3ERA, and International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Emergency Communications Special Advisor Rod Stafford, W6ROD, are attending.

    Interacting with our Professional Counterparts...
    - Just so all of you know I am writing this to include in my SEC Monthly Update but you folks are the guinea pigs for it. As far as I know, and I am pretty darn sure of this, none of you has ever been guilty of acting like a loon around our professional brethren. Consider it a rant and just ignore it.

    There are times when ARES/ACS members will have the opportunity to interact with the professionals of public safety communications side. This opportunity should be considered a golden opportunity to learn and appreciate what our non-Amateur counterparts are faced with on a day to day and on a planning basis. Remember that they are the first in for any situation and it is when the world turns to a brown stinky mess that they will call us for help with communications. In order for them to even contemplate using ARES/ACS we must show them that we are take direction, fulfill a mission, are competent, mature, and reliable.

    The way to give that impression is to keep quiet until you have an intelligent question or a well formed and rationale comment that contributes to the discussion at hand. In other words act professional yourself. Lose the fear of not looking like the savior of the communications world. You are not and probably never will be ahead of these people. Listen and learn because they are bringing more experience to the table than you can ever hope tobecause you do this as a "hobby". They do it for a living.

    Above all do not try to impress them with your verbal runoff. Their BS detectors will trigger and shut you off like a leaky faucet. Listen and Learn! Learn how to interact with them. Learn what their hot buttons are about communications. If you talk to them on a professional level you will learn a lot about what is going on in the communications world and you just might figure out how to help them when the time comes.

    And if you do happen to goof up and end up in a hole remember what my friend Tony told me. If you are in a hole stop digging. If you keep talking you will only make things worse.

    As the SEC I cannot stop you from doing irreparable harm to our relations with our professional counterparts. My title is coordinator and not dictator. But stop and think about what you are doing. And there in lies the problem. The ones out there that cause the problem never stop and think.

    The 2017-2018 Winter Weather Prognostication from the National Weather Service...
    U.S. Winter Outlook: NOAA forecasters predict cooler, wetter North and warmer, drier South
    Winter Skywarn Reporting Progress...
    - I have been dealing with fires since our voice net on Tuesday night so I did not get as far as planned on the Winter Skywarn reporting documentation. So what else is new. Grandiose Hopes fall prey to the Realities of Life.

    It is a foregone conclusion how it will work. It is just a matter of documenting it in the Operations Manual. The Operations Manual is the place to look for things about our organization. I hope that many of you will look there before going and asking about it. Sorry if that seems like I don't want to answer questions but all of you need to be self sufficient on things. Learn to find the answer. It will serve you well in the future when I am not around.

    One of the things that I did accomplish is the basic spreadsheet for entering data from skywarn reports. I am trying to make it as easy as possible. The spreadsheet will take a call and lookup the basic information from our ARES Database Spreadsheet and fill in the fields. The time and the reading is the additional information that needs to be added.

    Here is a sample of what it looks like:


    Date 10/21//17

    State PA

    County Luzerne

    Event Snow

    Call Name Phone Location Email Time Reading WX Comments Profile
    WN3LIF WT Jones 570-561-5500 600 Constitution Ave, Duryea, PA 19:50 4.5 Snowing Trained Spotter
    Enter WN3LIF and the name, phone, location (assuming you're at home), email, and profile are automatically populated. You key the time and the WX comments. If the report it received by Flmsg then it is easy to add the data to the spreadsheet.

    These reports should only be sent to NWS every 3 hours for a long event or at the end of a snow event. So the snow reading would be the total snow fall and the WX Comments would be "snow started at 1530 and ended at 1600" and that is it.

    Simple enough. More to follow.

    100% Operational...
    - The voting is open and to quote KB3VS "Vote Early Vote Often!"

    Some suggestions have come in for a new name for those of you hardworking LCARES members who are "100% Operational". Here are the suggestions so far:

    Primary Response Team (PRT)
    Alpha Team (AT or A-Team?)
    Alpha Response Team (ART)
    First Call Group (FCG)
    Communications Strike Team (CST: Which, believe it or not, follows with the ICS nomenclature. Strike Team: A specified combination of the same kind and type of resources with common communications and a Leader. OK, so maybe we are a little shy on the Leader part.)
    ARES Strike Team (AST: uses the Strike Team name but makes it more specific to ARES. I thought of this one!)
    ARES Communications Unit (ACU)
    ARES Ready Group (ARG)
    Ready Communications Response Team (RCRT)
    ARES Single Resource (ASR A single resource in ICS nomenclature is: An individual, a piece of equipment and its personnel complement, or a crew or team of individuals with an identified work Supervisor that can be used on an incident.)
    So there are some options and thank you to all who replied.

    The voting is now open. As KB3VS says - vote early and vote often.

    Emergency Antennas without using coax...
    Ever notice that all the articles about emergency antennas start with "grab a length of coax"? OK that is a great idea. Assuming you have a good piece of coax to grab. You may not have a good piece of coax to grab. Then what do you do? Oh and did you also notice in many of those articles they tell you to build a balun and use that to feed your antenna. OK, what happens if you don't happen to have a handy toroid and the wire to wing on it? And of course there is the "You'll need a tuner to operate with this antenna" statement too. Losing those fundamentals of antenna building really puts a crimp on things in a hurry.

    Fortunately, most modern rigs come with a tuner built-in that can usually handle up to a 2 to 1 SWR. So if you have a modern rig you should have the tuner problem solved but what about no coax. I'll give you the rig tuner to help you out here. I will also give you a pocket knife and a multi-tool. Remember this is an emergency! There is no store to run to and UPS cannot deliver into the disaster zone. You need to get on the air to get help. So what would you do? Email me your solution! Remember when the big one hits you might have to do this. And your rig just has an SO-239 on the back of it. Start thinking.

    And where do you find the antenna wire?


    Does the picture give you a hint?

    How about battery power for your rig?


    Note that they are also a good source for some crude tools.

    10 Meter Operation...
    We are 2 Meter bound for most of our normal communications. There are other options that we often forget. Those fancy rigs that we own have more than 80, 40 and 20 meters in them. Why not try 10 meters for a change. Technician class licenses have from 28.00 to 28.3 for CW (dirty word to many), Data, and RTTY, and from 28.3 to 28.5 for SSB and CW.

    I hate to say "back in the day" but back in the day 10 meters around NEPA was the place where the local contacts were made. I think it is about time to twist the dial (hmmm, push the button?) and try some other bands for experience. That will be happening soon. Make sure you can load up your antenna on 28.4MHz for our 10 meter test night (TBA) and we'll see how it work out.

    OK So There is a Problem with 8PSK...
    I was doing some testing this afternoon and noticed that I was not copying 8PSK1200F with the usual ease. Something was a bit wrong. I worked the problem but no solution presented itself. Well, wouldn't you know it. A bug in 4.0.11 has been found with the PSK sinc routine. No that is not a type - it is named sinc. Seems another hard charging ARES group found it too. There is an Alpha Release out for it I am not going to recommend that any one change to it. The release of 4.0.12 will be out shortly and we'll move to it when that happens. The release id is Notice the 4 numbers rather than the usual 3.

    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.
  2. Jeremy

    Jeremy Active Member

    For some reason, a few of these themes sound familiar...
  3. W.T. Jones

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

    I take suggestions wherever I can get them! Doing this thing every week leads to mental vapour lock.

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