ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-01-21

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Jan 21, 2018.

  1. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    Luzerne County ARES® Sunday Night Bulletin
    "We don't rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training."
    Archilochus - Greek Poet and Soldier

    "Success is not Final. Failure is not Fatal. The only thing that matters is the courage to carry on."
    Winston Churchill


    If you are an ARRL member and you have at least noticed what the ARRL Board is doing then here is the information you need to react to it.
    If you are not aware of what the ARRL Board is doing then it is time for you to get informed!


    • Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    • Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    • Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    • Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    • Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    • Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 11/11/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 1/12/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • The 4-Cs - Connect, Convey, Clarify, Confirm...
      • New OH8STN Video...
      • Flmsg and Fldigi Updates...
      • TM@EOC...
    • EPA-ARRL Web site...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: January 21, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 182

    This Bulletin is for all Amateur Radio Operators in Luzerne County and any interested Amateur Radio Station anywhere.

    Note: A copy of this Bulletin is stored on the web site in .wav file format. This file can be replayed by Fldigi and Flamp to get the complete Bulletin.

    Current Versions of Fldigi programs
    Current Versions of Fldigi Suite
    Fldigi Flmsg Flamp
    4.0.13 4.0.5* 2.2.03
    Current as of: January 21, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.

    Fldigi 4.0.14 was announced but recalled because of decoding problem.

    Latest versions available at
    Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    - Important: The Sunday Night Bulletin is required reading for all LCARES Members.

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the Last update: December 26, 2017

    K3NDB & WB3FKP are temporarily out of the NCS rotation. Please be sure to review the NCS schedule before the upcoming nets.

    Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    (These will be read by the Alternate NCS during the regular weekly session of the LCARES Voice Net.)

    * - indicates that announcement should not be read on the LCARES Net.

    1. N3SRO is looking for shack photos for posting to the LCARES Facebook page. Send your photos to
    2. The January Monthly Message Challenge is active.
    3. Training topics for the LCARES net are being solicited by the EC. If you have a topic to want to see in the training send a radiogram to the EC or, if you must, an email.
    4. The LCARES Skywarn Reporting Spreadsheet has been updated and is available on If you need the user id and password email the EC.
    5. LCEMA Quarterly Training is on January 30th at the EOC. Start at 6:00PM and runs to 8:30PM. All Amateur Radio operators are welcome to attend.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 11/11/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 1/12/18)...

    Sunday Night Bulletin for January 7, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    Rich, KC3FKW
    2nd Response
    Bob, KB3VS
    3rd Response
    Ian, K3IK
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 9
    Weekly Images
    The Candidates hard at work at the Murgas ARC VE Testing Session - 4 Testing Candidates - All 4 passed! It was a good day!
    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    The 4-Cs - Connect, Convey, Clarify, Confirm...
    - Did you know that if you say the 4-Cs to a jeweler he will tell you that they stand for Cut, Color, Clarity, and Carat? But they only need to grade a diamond and not communicate about it.

    In the January 14th SNB I gave links to the Disaster Resistant Communities Just In Time Training Videos. While there is a wealth of good information at that web site I asked that you watch the training video on Fire Communications. As I said, we are not fire fighters. We are communicators and that is our primary job even though we might have others that involve us using our eyes and ears to gather information. I asked that you send me an email and tell me what the 4-Cs are. Here is the list of responses:

    KC3FKW - 1/14 - 2148 hrs
    KB3VS - 1/14 - 2207 hrs
    K3IK - 1/14 - 2335 hrs
    N3PQP - 1/15 -1311 hrs
    KC3HLT - 1/16 - 1250 hrs
    WB3FKP - 1/16 - 1902 hrs
    KC3EPX - 1/18 - 0919 hrs
    K3NDB - 1/18 - 0901 hrs
    The folks that responded will get one Training Credit and one Response Credit. The Training Credits are for the lifetime of your membership in LCARES. The Response Credit shows in your yearly evaluation. I think that giving out that credit is appropriate for this kind of response.

    The 4-Cs boil down the essence of clear and concise communications operations.

    Connect - Get the station's attention and then let them know who is calling them. This is the way that Amateur Radio has instituted a connect since, well, forever. Examples:

    NET this is WN3LIF

    WN3LIF this is AB3ZI ready to copy

    This is WN3LIF no traffic over

    In the first example WN3LIF is getting the attention of the net. The second example is AB3ZI calling WN3LIF and letting him know that he is ready to copy whatever. The third example is our traditional net check-in. The call sign of the Net Control Station is not needed since this is technically a REPLY to the Net Control Station's request for check-ins.

    According to the 4-Cs the 2nd example is technically an incorrect usage. It is conveying information without establishing the 'connect'.

    All these examples are from our Nets. During operations the case may be that the operators are doing something that is distracting them. In that instance the 'connect' is extremely important. Make the connect before transferring information.


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF move your station to the intersection of RT 309 and Lower Demunds Road over


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF over. (WN3LIF waits to hear from N3SRO that he is listening for the information.)

    Note that N3SRO's response could be "WN3LIF this N3SRO", "This is N3SRO", or just "N3SRO". Ideally, it should be followed by the proword "over".

    Convey - send the information in a clear and concise manner.


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF move your station to the intersection Rt 309 and Lower Demunds Road. Report lead riders to race control when they pass your position. over.

    (Discussion note: Is this an order? I mean as in an officer/manager giving an order to a subordinate/employee? Absolutely not! It is a terse request. Terse means sparing in the use of words, abrupt, brief, short, to the point, etc. The first meaning is important one. It is sparing in the use of words. It is meant to convey something that needs to be done in as brief a manner as possible. Remember that in LCARES no one has the title of Commander/Overlord/Supreme Leader. There are one or two words and then the word 'Coordinator'. You are volunteers and how to take or feel about the request is up to you. You should do your best to implement the request but you shouldn't feel upset about the terseness of the request. It is done that way, as explained below, to save time and convey what needs to be done. I can't command you and no one else in LCARES can command you. The only entities that can issue a command are those in our served agencies who manage the Incident. That means Lucy Morgan, Dave Elmore, Tanisha Jagoe, Jack Robshaw, or Bill Sharknas. And they will make their wishes known through one of the Coordinators. The Coordinators will do their best to implement their wishes. You are a volunteer. You make the call about how you feel/think about the request. If you feel that you can't live with the request or the way it is delivered then you have the right to walk away. I want you to understand that completely. LCARES needs all of you as Volunteers but sometimes in an exigency a cool head is required and an urgent solution to the problem requires the terse method of delivery to be used. It is not being unfriendly. It is being professional even though we are Amateurs.)


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF Dave when you are able please move your station from your current location to the intersection of Rt 309 and Lower Demunds Road. When you get there watch for the lead riders and send that information to the race control when they pass. over.

    Clarify: Repeat the information/instructions back as received so there is no mistake.


    WN3LIF from N3SRO I will move my station to the intersection of RT 309 and Lower Demunds Road and report lead riders to race control when they pass.


    WN3LIF from N3SRO OK WT I am going to move my station as you requested to the intersection of RT 309 and Lower Demunds Road. When I get there I am going to report the lead riders back to Bob at race control so he has the update. over.

    Confirm - Acknowledge that the station received your instructions/information correctly.


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF correct (or roger/affirmative). out. (Remember to us the proword "roger" means we heard and understood.)


    N3SRO this is WN3LIF Thanks Dave understand your going to move your station and let race control know that the riders have passed your station. out.

    Notice the brevity in each correct transmission. The "please" and "thanks" don't play a part in this type of communications. We, LCARES members, are a very nice and friendly group and that is a wonderful thing. I really appreciate that kind of attitude among us. This is NOT an attempt to squash that friendliness. Remember, during operations our 'professionalism' can make our break our efforts. Clear communications that move the information rapidly and accurately is what it is all about. Before it starts and after it ends the friendly attitude counts for everything. During the event our cool, calm, and efficient communications manner is what counts.

    Asking for a repeat...

    We don't always hear what was being said. There may be noise at the receiving station's location (remember to have the right equipment to overcome that in the first place) or someone may have walked up and said something to the receiving operator just as you were transmitting. Its life and it happens at the speed of life. Nothing you can do about it but deal with it.

    Since you are "connected" you can ask for a repeat several ways. Here are some examples:

    "Say again"
    "Say again last"
    "Repeat your last transmission"
    "Again Again"
    What is missing that most operators add? "Your last transmission didn't make it" or "your last transmission was stepped on" or "I did not hear your last message". Think about it. Can you reasonably assume that because you are asking for a repeat of the last thing said that the sending station would know that you missed it? I think that would be a correct assumption. So why add 6 or 7 more unnecessary words when they are really not needed?

    Word and Phrases to be avoided - the video listed words and phrases to be avoided. These are:

    1. Be advised
    2. At this time
    3. We are currently in the process
    4. Yeah
    5. Um...
    6. Do me a favor
    7. If you have time, I need
    I chuckled to my self when I read these. GUILTY! Get the lumber and nails and built the scaffold! Or burn me at the stake as it may be. Some of you may want to both but you can't have it both ways.

    The one that they missed for me is "OK" because I find myself saying that over and over and over again and again. OK?

    Phrases 1 and 2 are common and I do find myself using them. They are the height of superfluous speech. Instead of "be advised" just tell the recipient what you want to tell him. If it is happening right now then "at this time" is also superfluous. Here is an example:


    Race control this is WN3LIF. over"

    WN3LIF this is Race Control. over"

    "Be advised at this time I am beginning my travel from the beach area to check point 1. over"


    "Leaving beach area for check point 1. over"

    Lets just look at the correct method. I am advising race control of what I am going by saying it. I don't need the words "be advised". I am telling race control that I am leaving so I think the operator at race control would understand that I am doing it right now. I am going to go to check point 1 so I have to be traveling there some how but the conveyance is not important to race control. So 7 words conveyed the same information as 18.

    To continue on the 4-Cs, race control should respond with:

    "WN3LIF is leaving beach area for check point 1. over."

    And I should respond with:

    "Correct (or copy or roger or affirmative). WN3LIF over"

    And for tactical identification race control should respond with:

    "race control K3TOW out"

    Phrase 3 follows right on "at this time" because if you are telling some one that you are doing without saying a time then it is current. So saying "we are currently in the process..." is redundant. Simply say "we are..." and add what you are doing.

    If you are going to do something and you are letting some one know that you are going to do it at a future time then add some clarification. Lets say the time is 1:30PM. At 2:00PM I am going to move my station from Check Point 1 to Race Control. I can add the time I am going to do it. I've already connected with race control so here is just my statement.

    "race control this WN3LIF leaving check point 1 at 2:00PM for race control. over"

    Race Control knows that I will be on the way to Race Control at 2:00PM and until then I will be where ever I told him I would be until that time.

    Some feel the need to say "Check Point 1's location" and "race control's location" but think about it. Check Point 1 and race control are locations. No need to add the word 'location' to the statement.

    Words 4 and 5 are slang. What we say in normal conversation. The 'Um' is what we say when we can't think of what we want to say. Again, GUILTY! The way to cure that is to think about what you want to say, get it straight in your head, press the mic button, and speak your piece clearly. There is the propensity to press the PTT, and then think and speak at the same time. Whoops, while you are thinking someone may have something important that needs to be said. They cannot say anything over the air because you have it blocked with dead air. Generate RF only when you have some thing to say. If you are thinking about it then you are not ready to say it yet.

    Phrases 6 and 7 are being polite. Again, I love you guys and girls for it but during an incident, event, or emergency words take time. If you need some thing done then ask for it straight out. Lets take asking for a resend of a digital transmission during an SSES drill.


    "County EOC this is Union Township: That last message didn't make it. It was garbled. I didn't have the mic in the right place. Can you do me a favor and when you have time can you send it again. over."


    "County EOC this Union Township: Last message not received. resend needed. over."

    The last one tells the County straight out that the message didn't make it and that a resend is needed. The reason that it was not received is not important. You are at the end that did not receive it so you need to figure out what went wrong and make the corrections. You need the resend and it is not as a favor to you that the County sends it again. It is some thing that needs to happen.

    The role of the Net Control Station (NCS)
    - Like the dispatch center in the video the Net Control should, ideally, not be any where the action is happening. This is a problem for us since we just don't have the luxury of having enough bodies to have a separate net control station at another location. So we make do as best we can.

    The NCS, being the traffic cop for the net, should be minimally involved with a tactical net. However, the NCS does need to be fully aware of what is going on during the net. If a station does not respond within a certain length of time the NCS should call them. If a station is calling but the station's signal is noisy and unreadable then the NCS should call the station, let them know they are unreadable, and try to work the situation out to a favorable conclusion. This is better than a cacophony (I like that word) of net stations all trying to tell the station he is noisy. Leave that to the NCS.

    The NCS job can be stressful and it is not one where the NCS operator can decide he is going to take a lunch break because he could be needed to sort out a problem. Being the NCS can be one of the most rewarding jobs on the net but it can be a tad stressful.


    - I know that this seems like a wide deviation from how we normally talk on the radio. Normally, we just talk like we do in person. After all, we are friends and our dialogues are give and take in rapid banter. It is our normal way of talking. I do not expect that all of us including yours truly can turn that off at a moment's notice. The point is that during situations when we are under stress and time is of the essence we need to turn off the fire hoses and become selective in our manner of doing things.

    We will practice these methods and the more we practice the better we'll get at it. Remember that a short concise message does not mean the person on the other end has stopped being your friend. It means that he or she is trying to say things in a precise and easily understood manner because of the stress. We practice under some stress so that we become stress inoculated so that real stress doesn't make us trip over the things we have to say.

    New OH8STN Video...
    - Julian is at it again. Here is the link to his latest video.

    Flmsg and Fldigi Updates...
    - Flmsg 4.0.5 has been announced and is good to go. The problems in 4.0.4 were fixed. Fldigi 4.0.14 was announced but Dave, W1HKJ, pulled it because of decode problems. You can install the latest version of Flmsg as it is working fine. I am sure that some time in the upcoming week there will be another announcement for the update to Fldigi. The beta test has been successful at resolving the problems.

    - We are back at the EOC for this Tuesday. It has been 3 weeks since the updates were done to the Go-Kit computers and maintenance on the radios. That will be the priority item for Tuesday morning. I know that KB3FVF is champing at the bit to do the updates but I am going to ask him to just get the Go-Kits out and on the tables. I would like everyone to take a turn on doing the new update process so they understand how it works. The update will take slightly longer than normal because of the Flmsg update. It should not be overly long but while it is running the batteries and radios can be checked out.

    The February Program at the Murgas Meeting is going to be an demonstration of the Go-Kits. I'd like to have 4 of the regular LCARES members at the meeting to mentor 4 of the Go-Kit laptops and to make sure they get put away correctly. It would be a big help.

    The demonstration will be receiving an flmsg transmission using the LCARES laptops. So this TM@EOC when the updates are done will set up each of the 4 Go-Kits and do a test of that. Nothing like making sure the bugs are worked out. We won't use the Signalinks for this test. I'd rather do it using the acoustic coupling method since that is what the volunteer operators will be using. This is a chance to help the other Amateur Radio Operators who have not done this see that it does work and works without stress.

    So those are the two things that need to be done at TM@EOC. Hope to see you there.

    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
    Luzerne County ARES Facebook Page <-- New
    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. Total prep time for this bulletin - 5 hours.
  2. Tony

    Tony Moderator Staff Member

    The vote for president was 9-6.

    Where do we find what directors voted for what candidate?
  3. W.T. Jones

    W.T. Jones Moderator Staff Member Silver Member Golden GPS Recipient AtlDiv EPA Leader AtlDiv ARES Member

    Contact your favorite Atlantic Division Director - I hear they rescinded parts of the Governance Policy to permit that but what do I know? I'm just a humble life member.

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