ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-02-11

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Feb 11, 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 1/11/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 2/11/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Battery Night Results!...
      • YF Update...
      • Electro Magnetic Pulses...
    • EPA-ARRL Web site...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: February 11, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 185

    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
    4.0.16* 4.0.5 2.2.03
    Current as of: February 11, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.

    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: January 27, 2018

    K3NDB & WB3FKP are temporarily out of the NCS rotation. AB3ZI has requested to be added to 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. The February Monthly Message Challenge is active. Please remember that you have an entire calendar quarter to send at least 1 message to meet the requirements. If you send a message in February then technically you are done till April.
    2. *The EC will not be at the TM@EOC this week. Please feel free to go to the EOC and do the maintenance routine on the Go-Kits. You know the Routine. If you don't the routine KB3FVF knows it. The EC will be around for the nets.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 1/11/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 2/11/18)...

    Sunday Night Bulletin for February 4, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    Bill, KC3HLT
    2108 hrs
    2nd Response
    Ian, K3IK
    2114 hrs
    3rd Response
    Mark, WB3FKP
    2132 hrs
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 11
    This is the kind of splint that Jan has on her arm. It is wrapped with an elastic bandage and supported by a sling.
    Not a fashion statement but it works.

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Battery Night Results!...
    - Here are the results from Battery night...

    Station Points
    WN3LIF 4
    AB3ZI 3
    K3DBG 3
    KC3FKW 3
    N3PQP 3
    K3IK 1
    KB3VS 1
    KC3JXL 1
    K3ZK 0
    WB3FKP 0
    1 point - check into the net on an HT on battery.
    2 points - Mobile station check-in. That means from your car.
    3 points - Home rig on battery or generator power.
    4 points - Entire home station on battery or generator power including computer, lighting, and tea maker or coffee pot.

    Solar Power Charging - 1 extra point for any category.
    YF Update...
    - Thank you to all of you who have expressed your concerns over Jan's broken arm. The details are that she slipped on ice while taking her elderly aunts store shopping as she does every week. She even finished her shopping with her broken arm. When she arrive home she greeted me with her usual "I think I have a problem." One look at her left forearm and I knew she had one. I drove her up to Moses Taylor Hospital in Scranton. Why Moses Taylor? It has been the Jones Family Hospital of choice for almost 50 years. And having all of Jan's info on file made things easy.

    The staff was absolutely terrific and there are no horror stories about any part of the visit. I cannot say enough good about all of them even though they were so busy that they were treating people in the hallways. Guess what - most of the cases that I saw were people who had injuries from falls. Jan was not alone with her injury.

    Xrays showed a compression fracture of the Radius bone just above the wrist. Still aligned and doesn't look like surgery will be needed. As the PA said "this is one that is going to probably be allowed to heal on its own" but that is for a orthopaedic doctor to determine. So Monday we'll be headed to see one of them.

    Jan is well splinted. The splint is to allow for swelling and other than Tylenol she didn't need any of the heavy medications so that prescription will probably go into the fireplace. She slept well Friday night (wish I did) and rested for most of Saturday. She asked for banana pancakes for supper so I made banana pancakes. There is nothing like pancakes made with Guinness. As I am typing this she and Taffi are sleeping on the couch. That is good. I need a break.

    So that is the story. No great shakes and what could have been really bad turned out to be only bad. We'll keep carrying on and do what needs to be done. I have grounded her until she sees the Orthopedic Surgeon so no travels out to church or other places. She can't crochet, knit, or quilt so I know she is going to get antsy in a few days. She does like playing solitaire on the computer and she is having some fun with that. I know that keeping her occupied is going to be the hard part of this. If I don't she will be doing things she should not be doing. And that will raise both our blood pressures and Taffi will be hiding under the couch again.

    Electro Magnetic Pulses...
    - In response to video from Hawaii that I sent out KC3FKW sent me the following:

    Can our equipment survive an EMP?
    What do we need to protect our radio equipment?
    Would a high altitude nuclear detonation on the West Coast affect us in the East?
    Since I don't feel like finding a new topic tonight I thought I'd comment on these questions.

    I think it was 2 years ago that K3ITH and I were called to meeting to discuss Amateur Radio support to the government and populace following an IND (Improvised Nuclear Device) detonation in middle of a major city. The funniest thing that I heard was how the vendors were ready to move into the city to repair the infrastructure. The fellow from OEC (Office of Emergency Communications) simply said "repair what?" He was right. There would be nothing left to repair. And getting back into that area was a matter of time. As in 100 years or so. And then getting to the bottom of it. Under 100 feet of debris. The scariest thing I heard was "we have to write off the people who survived in 1 mile of the blast because we can't rescue them." That is a scary thought but I understand the practical side of that statement.

    So lets just talk about EMP real quickly. There is more than one kind of EMP. I am aware of at least six. Want to know what they are? Here is a quick list:

    Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) - same stuff we deal with every day as Hams.
    Electromagnetic Pulse (plain old EMP) - think ignition noise.
    High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) - what has our knickers in a twist most of the time.
    Surface Radiated Electromagnetic Pulse (SREMP) - This is what you get from an IND or surface burst device.
    Nuclear Electromagnetic Pulse (NEMP) - from a nuclear detonation that near the surface but not on it.
    System Generated Electromagnetic Pulse (SGEMP) - usually from within a closed system which could be a power company issue or even from your vehicle when you start it.
    And there could be geomagnetic storms (Carrington Event), Tempests (can you say lightning?), internally generated transients, Power Grid anomalies, Lightning induced transients, and the list can go on and on.

    Bad things will come through your antenna, your power source, or, if close enough, coupled through the air.

    EMP is a general term for this stuff. If you have snow static burn out your receiver when you are doing HF Packing then you have suffered from a form of EMP.

    Can you see a pattern developing here? Lightning protection, power line protection, good grounding, and don't spend too much money on aluminum foil but some good anti-static bags for stored equipment might be a good idea.

    So to put some kind of answer on KC3FKW's first question - Can our equipment survive an EMP? Our modern rigs and the old tube rigs won't survive a near lightning strike without some extra protection like a surge protector. If you protect your equipment from lightning you have improved your equipments' chances of surviving an EMP but not as much as you think. The only true way to survive an EMP meant to destroy equipment is to have it hardened to withstand it and that costs money.

    Lets take it to the prepper level for a moment. For drill purposes an IND of the 10 kiloton size is set off in Public Square in Wilkes-Barre. That is smaller than the bomb used on Hiroshima but it fits the suitcase scenario. It would be a surface burst unless the terrorists find a way to make the "suitcase" jump up a thousand feet or so. Distance for the EMP would be 10 to 20 kilometers. Damage to most electronic equipment would be within 5 kilometers. 20 Kilometers to about 12 miles.

    The blast effect would remove Wilkes-Barre from the map and most Wilkes-Barre Township, Plains, Nanticoke, Plymouth, and Kingston as well. Pringle would definitely be effected. Over 11,000 fatalities and over 16,000 injuries based on the model. Want to have some fun? Here is the link to nukemap: You can try putting some locations in and see what you get. It isn't a CYA event. It is a KYAGB event.

    Even if you live in Dallas things are not going to be too good. And that is just a 10 KT surface burst. Less than what was dropped on Hiroshima.

    BTW, the North Korean Weapon tested in 2013 was a 10 KT device.

    Lets hope we never see something like this. BTW, skip reporting to the EOC. It won't be there.

    So even if you have a radio but happen to be looking toward Wilkes-Barre at the time of the explosion I doubt you would be able even find your radio. If you were looking toward Wilkes-Barre the odds are you would be blind. And don't think about ducking because you can't move at the speed of light. Think about that for a minute. Thousands of people survive the blast but are blind and burned from the flash. Ask K3ZK what kind of cell phone he uses because there will be a need for a few thousand of them.

    Anyway, that close to ground zero would make your equipment hors de combat no matter what unless you had the bucks to spend on military hardware. And that is not a HEMP which is deliberately calculated to create a electronically destructive EMP.

    A High Altitude EMP (HEMP) is something that is deliberately set to create an EMP. In fact, one of the things about a HEMP is that you might not even see or notice it. To be effective a HEMP detonation must be nearly 30 miles up. Too high for the blast and shock wave to affect even those directly below it. Global Security Magazine noted that a HEMP above 400 Kilometers above Moscow Russia would disable most of NATO as well. That would be a Pyrrhic Victory. So its use is limited to terrorism. Or to a force that is prepared for HEMP and can exploit the confusion created by a HEMP in its adversary.

    The other interesting thing about HEMP is that it falls mostly below 100 Megahertz and the greatest effect is on 100kHz and 10mHz. Kiss 160, 80, 40, and 30 meters good bye! Why? The antennas for those frequencies are the best collectors of RF energy from the HEMP. VHF, UHF, and Microwave won't be hurt as bad because of poor absorption of their antennas.

    And the first product HEMP called the energy shock wave and is like extreme static electricity to electronics. It is extremely fast compared to lightning, on the order of 1 microsecond. So fast that most lightning protection can't react to it because they react in milliseconds. The good thing is that is so fast that it cannot start a current flow in a human. This component is generally line of sight.

    The second product of HEMP has characteristics similar to lightning. If anti-lightning measures have been instituted then they MIGHT protect from the HEMP secondary effects provided the first product did not destroy the protection devices.

    The last product is a slower moving magnetic wave like a geomagnetic storm. Its major disruption effect is to "long lines" which is a term that N3PQP will be familiar with. The magnetic wave lasting from milliseconds up to a full second induces current in devices with long antennas such as power lines. Power surges! Yep, and the same applies here as to the second product. If the first product didn't get your protection devices your equipment might have a chance to survive.

    And when you think of long lines don't forget those railroad tracks. Thay are VERY long antennas.

    So if you want to protect from HEMP here is what Global Security Magazine says:

    Don't rely on lightning suppressors and arrestors. While EMP is similar to lightning in some ways, EMP is more powerful and differs in other characteristics. Hence, military and commercial devices that provide adequate protection against lightning strikes generally do not provide protection against EMP.

    Don't plan on wrapping everything in aluminum foil or putting every item of equipment in metal boxes. Taking these steps may make sense when dealing with small, redundant items, such as an extra hand-held calculator might be kept in a sealed ammunition can. As a general rule, it doesn't make sense to try to put all of your equipment away in these types of expedient shielded containers. In reality, your equipment may not be protected and more importantly, you need your equipment to accomplish the mission.

    Don't rely on nonmilitary standard commercial equipment. During peacetime training, it is tempting to use commercial radios and other nonmilitary-issue equipment which are nonstandard and not EMP hardened. In many situations, quick reconstitution and recovery of standard-issue equipment will be possible because the needed parts are in the supply system. This will not be true for nonstandard items.

    So that is the advice to the military and people with lots of bucks to spend. We ain't military! Should we all have tube radios? Well, if you want to go that far have at it but they won't survive if they are connected to an antenna. And like my neighbor who buried 4 perfectly good AR-15s in a PVC pipe when you need them they probably won't work because of aging and lack of maintenance. I have tube radios because I like tube radios.

    If I want to have a radio that survives a HEMP I would get one of these:

    Can you say $20,000? I am not that concerned about EMP to put out that kind of money.

    But the hype about HEMP in the press today is just that. Hype. Operation Starfish Prime which was a test of HEMP back in the 60's was conducted with a 1.4 megaton explosion which is much larger than what North Korea can launch. It caused street lights to go out in Hawaii. Take note of that. Induced voltages in "long lines". A microwave station was damaged but that was not confirmed. A good read about the hype can be found here: Slate Magazine - Who is Afraid of the Big Bad Pulse.

    OK lets look at the Geomagnetic Storm EMP. Well, that does not affect our radios. It does affect power lines that come to our homes though. Those power lines make for long antennas. The Carrington Event in 1859 really made news. This is that long magnetic wave like the 3rd product of the HEMP.

    Now Solar Flares are not capable of destroying the Earth. Coronal Mass Ejections (CME) do have the potential to destroy our normal life styles but they won't affect our radios. The biggest issue again is the power grid and the Satellite comms which if you have not noticed make our every day head in the clouds lives easy. If we get a serious CME we Hams will be back in business big time as long as we have taken our emergency power planning seriously.

    In answer to KC3FKW's question about a nuclear blast over the west coast affecting us - if it is what North Korea has right in mind right now probably not. A 1.4 megaton blast 898 miles from HI affected street lights. That was about 900 miles. The distance from Philadelphia to Los Angeles is more like 2,500 miles. If that was attempted I would be more worried about my friends in South Korea from the retaliation strike that would come to North Korea. And the effect on the world situation after that happens. Supposing that the device is really a HEMP. The 3rd product would affect us most because of the Power Grid.

    Thanks Rich for asking the questions. They need to be asked but like all things they have a myriad of qualifications to make the answers meaningful. The major problem with EMP is no one does much investigation but most people do a lot of writing. I spent a week on the topic and ordered almost $100 in books (I don't believe what I read on the Internet) only to find that asking the question of how to protect my equipment from EMP lead to more questions about what kind of EMP did I want to protect it from. I learned that trying to define EMP lead to more questions about how the EMP was generated. I found that the math and calculus that went into the effects was way beyond my education. Things like the blast happening so fast that the air cannot get out of the way which is why an EMP is only really effective at certain layers in the atmosphere. Thick air hampers EMP which is why surface or low altitude air bursts do not generate a large EMP. And finally I found that protecting equipment against it is really only a dream to civilians.

    So the idea is not so much protecting our equipment. We don't have the facilities of Cheyenne Mountain. We can prepare for the aftermath and use what is available.

    And last I had to sit back and think about how much of a chance is there that an EMP would affect MY equipment. I could go all the way and have duplicate equipment stored in a professionally made Faraday cage (which by the way is the only way to protect your equipment) and buried in a hardened shelter. Or I could be practical and say I am going to enjoy my equipment and not get too caught up in the hype because the chances of it happening were too small. The risk analysis just didn't point me in the direction of building a Faraday cage. And the cost of military grade equipment is just more than my budget can stand. But that doesn't mean I don't want it. Dang that Codan stuff is neat.

    If a terrorist state sets off a high altitude device close enough to the United States with the intention of causing a HEMP I have to think that the aftermath of that is going to be the Hell we don't want to think about. An aberrant squirrel trying to stuff his winter food supply into a transformer here in Duryea will be the more likely event. I've done what I can to keep ARS WN3LIF on the air and handle the Skywarn stuff and ice jams. Some times the other stuff, even the CME, will have to handled by those younger and with a bigger wallet than I have.

    One last caveat - When I was researching this stuff I came across a lot of information 'prepared' by the Prepper Community. The information is absolutely misleading. The test most of them apply is putting a cell phone in the home-made Faraday cage and trying to call it. If it rings then the Faraday cage is not working. If it doesn't then you have blocked all the RF and you're safe. What they are not taking into account is the energy levels of HEMP. RF to a cell phone is on the order of microamps of power. The energy from a HEMP could be on the order of tens of millions times that. There are a lot of Joules flying for a very short time. Aluminum foil and card board won't make it.

    Speaking of railroad tracks. The only danger to humans I found in my researching of this is the induced voltages near long line energy absorbers. The warning is don't get too close to anything metal. Ha! Like you have a chance to prepare for this.

    A Faraday Cage made out of a Pasta Box or garbage can just isn't going to cut it. If you want to know the real information get the Engineering books and not the prepper web sites.

    Most of the recommendations I have found on the Internet are nonsense. One copied from another just to say that have it on their web site. One of the few that made sense for Amateur Radio Operators is this one from Harris County TX ARES.

    Its not perfect but it is more practical than most.

    Have a 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
    Luzerne County ARES Facebook Page <-- New
    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 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.

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