ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-02-18

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Feb 18, 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 2/17/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 2/17/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Spring Skywarn Training...
      • Everything about EMP and the Radio Amateur in 4 QST Articles...
      • What you say, how you say it, and how much you say...
        • Just the facts...
        • We are not subject to HIPAA rules...
        • Don't send it if you don't have it right...
        • Just answer the question...
        • Save time by referencing a message...
        • There are times when...
        • Saying it with POWER...
        • Say it clearly...
        • Say Just Enough...
    • EPA-ARRL Web site...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: February 18, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 186

    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 18, 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: February 17, 2018

    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. Congratulations to Leann, KC3JXL! She passed her General Class license exam on Friday, February 16th. Be sure to congratulate her when you can. Next stop Leann is Amateur Extra!
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 2/17/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 2/17/18)...

    Sunday Night Bulletin for February 11, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    Bill, KC3HLT
    2nd Response
    Mark, WB3FKP
    3rd Response
    John, AB3ZI
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 9
    Weekly Images
    An example of a military message - If you were MacArthur you probably didn't want to get this one.
    Notice how the reference to the US Army in the message was spelled out. And if you think a ICS-213 is a problem child just look at the DD-173. Can you find the message number and the date in the message?

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Spring Skywarn Training...
    - Well, I know it is hard to believe but Spring is just around the corner. As I am typing this on Monday night there are 35 days until Spring arrives. As long as the ice goes away I'll be happy. Snow can stay but I really don't want to see any more ice. And I think my YF will agree with that.

    The Luzerne County edition of Spring Skywarn Training will be held on April 17th. Just about 2 months away. I am getting this out in front of folks and will keep it out in front them because I want a good turn out from our Luzerne County Ham Community. It is required for LCARES members to attend one every 2 years but I think that it would not hurt any of us to get to the training as a Refresher.

    Personally I would rather report some summer weather than more ice and snow. Sure would be nice.

    There are other courses being held through out District 3 so anyone not in Luzerne County reading this get to a Skywarn in your county. Skywarn is a "Meat & Potatoes" service that Amateur Radio operators can perform. We are very lucky in this area since we have a Weather Office that supports our efforts. The least we can do is support them.

    Here is the list of Skywarn Classes and the links to register for them. All classes are from 6:30PM to 8:30PM.

    March 21st
    Wayne County PA Emergency Management Agency
    43 Volunteer Drive
    Honesdale, PA 18431
    Wayne County Registration

    April 17th
    Luzerne County EMA
    185 Water Street
    Wilkes-Barre, PA 18702
    Luzerne County Registration
    Be sure to register because the presenter needs to know how much support materials to bring.

    And more classes for Lackawanna County, Wyoming County, and Susquehanna County will be coming.

    Everything about EMP and the Radio Amateur in 4 QST Articles...
    - Thanks to Dave Kirby, N3SRO, for doing the digging to find these QST Articles from 1986.

    Warning - the PDFs list links to the articles. The links are broken since the archived files have been moved on the ARRL Servers. That is what happens when you have a small and overworked IT staff. However, I did the home work and below are the links to all 4 parts of the article. I suggest that if you are interested you click on each one and download it. You may not be able to find the article again.

    I cannot get many of you to do what I suggest but here's hoping you listen this time. This is very good information.

    Electromagnetic Pulse and the Radio Amateur Part 1: Will your station survive?

    Electromagnetic Pulse and the Radio Amateur Part 2: Test Results on First Two EMP/Transient Protection Devices

    Electromagnetic Pulse and the Radio Amateur Part 3: Protection Devices are connected to Amateur Radio Equipment and Tested

    Electromagnetic Pulse and the Radio Amateur Part 4: Some Ideas On Procedures and Protective Devices

    These are the conclusions of Dennis Bodson, W4PWF, of the National Communications System in Washington, D.C., who is no longer listed in QRZ. He is either a silent key or no longer active in Ham Radio.

    Remember, this article is from 1986 and testing was done on equipment available in 1986. Equipment such as the popular Yeasu FT-101ZD, Kenwood TS-830S, and the Icom IC-701.

    Things are different today. Looking at the FT-857D 1st Mixer. It is an SPM5001 from Sanyo. Maximum current dissipation is 200 mW (milliwatts). Maximums for current are in microamps and milliamps. Coupling examples for E1 can reach several hundred amps. The article points out that induced current at the E2 and E3 levels was still in Ampere range. So the tolerance levels of today's equipment will vary from 1986 equipment. Today's equipment is using an IC. In 1986 it was a discrete unit and more than likely it was a transistor. It is easy to replace a transistor. It is not so easy to replace a surface mount integrated circuit. Best advice - keep your antenna and power disconnected when not in use.

    In the QST article it shows a grounding bus arrangement. That is what I did and used copper braid to improve conductivity. Will it work? I hope I never have to find out.

    What you say, how you say it, and how much you say...
    - I typed (poked with my finger) out much of this while I was keeping an eye on Jan while she slept after her surgery. That is a picture of her left hand, wrist, and forearm after Dr. Burke finished. If this week's drivel seems more than disjointed than my usual drivel please forgive me. I was tired, still am, and I was more than concerned about Jan. I have mentioned this before but I have my priorities. God, My Family, My Shooting, and then everything else in my world. So Ham Radio was a poor second for this past week. And just so there is no mistake about it. "My Family" includes Taffi, my Corgi. Priorities in this world can complicate a life or they can clarify a life. My priorities have been set for a very long time. Having them has aggravated some of my friends but then again if they truly are friends they should accept the fact that others should walk their own path without hindrance.

    Just the facts...
    - As Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet (I know most of you are too young to remember it) "Just the facts." When ever we are in a position to report or comment on something we should limit ourselves to what is factual. The facts can be repeated and verified. If you stick to the facts then your report will be valuable to the people needing. Avoid the tendency to embellish the facts. Report only what you see. If you are being told then be sure to report who told you. The facts, good or bad, are what are needed to make good decisions.

    We are not subject to HIPAA rules...
    - Contrary to some beliefs we are not Health Care Providers. We don't take money for anything we do although there are times when I would like to collect a fee. The "Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act" does not apply to anything we transmit. There may be times when you are given patient information to send during an emergency or disaster. Don't get in a discussion with the person handing you the information to send. Just send it. Remember, that the HIPAA rules specifically exclude emergency information for the care or treatment of people affected.

    Don't send it if you don't have it right...
    - Accuracy is paramount in our efforts. Speed is secondary. We do all that we can when move information whether it be messages or tactical communications to ensure that the message or information is 100% correct as sent. We use checks in radiograms and read backs as needed to insure that manually transmitted messages are correct. Flmsg goes out of its way to ensure that was copied is correct by using checksums. There is no circumstance that you should relay a message that you don't have as being 100% accurate. If you get a "badfile" from Flmsg then you don't have it correct. And unless you are in telepathic contact with the originator of the message you don't know what was garbled. A '2' could be '200'. A 'do not' could end up being a 'do'. An"I need" could be missed entirely. If you don't have it 100% correct don't relay it even for practice.

    Just answer the question...
    - If you are sent a specific question answer it. Do not answer 2 or 3 unasked questions. The question you were asked is important to the requester. Adding information muddles the response, takes longer to send, and may be wasting valuable net time. If you have some important information then originate a separate message or exchange. Remember if the receiving station is writing down the response will be filed as the question asked so your additional information may be missed. Stick to the request and fulfill it as accurately as you can.

    Save time by referencing a message...
    - There are times when we use extra words telling a station what we are responding to. A faster and easier way to do this is to tell the station to reference a particular message by number (if you have it) or by the date and time of the message. A simple "reference your message" or abbreviated "ref ur msg" takes a lot of words and work out of a reply. So instead of saying "In response to your request for the amount of blankets at Shelter A X 42 blankets available" simply say "ref ur msg Feb181025 X 42 blankets available" and get 'er done quick.

    There are times when...
    - We all like to be the savior of the situation. When a station can't be heard we like to "relay" them in. If someone is having trouble we want to help. Well, stifle it as Archie Bunker used to say. This is not being mean but during emergencies and disasters you are given a specific job at a specific location. Abandoning that job to run over and help takes you out of position and away from the job you are supposed to perform. Let the Net Control or other controlling entities deal with the issue. They may direct you to help or they may have resources available to help. Let them decide. You keep quiet until asked. Not being mean but you don't have all the facts. In a drill the fact that a station has a problem is a "training moment" both for that station and the Net. Work it like it would be worked for real. Not doing that deprives the Net and the station of that "training moment". During an emergency - stick to your assignment. Best place for you to be unless someone who knows better tells you to do something else.

    Saying it with POWER...
    - There is a tendency among new stations to take FCC Part 97.313(a) as being use only enough power so the other station can hear a change in the background static when they transmit. That wonderful part of the FCC Rules and Regs doesn't mean that. That was to prevent abuse by stations who run close to the legal limit. If you are participating in an emergency net and your equipment can handle it then use the most power that your rig can generate. A good strong signal overcomes many other weaknesses and generally eliminates the need for the receiving station to say "say again!" If you can run a nice clean 50 watts into your antenna do it. When you are not working a net, emergency, or disaster then dial it back to talk to your friends. As N3FA used to say "I paid for every watt and I am going to use them!" Emergencies are no time for playing with QRP signals. (Apologies to N3RN)

    Say it clearly...
    - Going with the preceding POWER recommendation - make sure your equipment is good working order. Use it. Get good signal reports and be honest if you are asked for a signal report. Make sure there is no distortion or over deviating on your FM rigs. Make sure that your mic settings on your SSB rigs does not over drive the rig. Get rid of any gadgets between the microphone and the rig and the rig and the antenna. Use the KISS principle. This is not only a good idea it is a practical idea. The more that you add then the more can malfunction. Make sure when you press the PTT what comes out at the other end is a nice clear representation of what went in.

    Say Just Enough...
    - I have harped on this before. I have talked about the 4-Cs. I just have to do it one more time even though you know I'll say it again in the future. Say what you need to say and no more. Respond quickly when called but have what you want to say ready in the brain bucket. If the Net Control asks if you are ready answer him with a straight short answer. "Yes", "No", "Ready" are just fine. If you are not ready and need a minute or 5 then say "No - will be in 5 minutes". Don't say "Well, I am getting a drink of water and my pen just quit but I think I can get it together in 5 minutes or so. Do you think that will work?" If you are at a municipality and the Net Control asks if your location is manned but don't have the info then say "Wait - checking". When you get the information then respond with "EMC states this location is ready" and that is it. The Net Control does not need to hear "the EMC says that we have all positions manned, the coffee is hot, and the pizza is on the way." You may hear that and while you are hearing it the frequency is clear for emergency messages. Your response to the question of "Is your location ready" should be just one word. "Ready", "Yes", or "No". Remember to say enough and that is all.

    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


    In the message to MacArthur, what is “cma" and "pd"?
  3. W.T. Jones

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

    cma = comma (,)

    pd = period (.)

    and just for reference para = new paragraph

    Ii have been told cma and I have no definite confirming reference cma that the punctuation was sent like that to avoid the Fig Shift on Radio Teletype that some times failed to unshift resulting in "garbles".

    I can't imagine that it would be a Morse code reason the weighting of cma and pd are longer than the ',' and the '.'.

    There is one other possible explanation and that is that the messages are encrypted using a M-209, Sigaba, or even a Type X system. Those systems did not have punctuation characters. You can read about some of it at this link:
  4. Tony

    Tony Moderator Staff Member

    Got it. Thx.

    Thought it might have been "cover my ankle,” in military talk, you know. Then I thought naa, couldn’t be that.
  5. W.T. Jones

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

    Usually it is BOHICA - Bend Over Here It Comes Again!

    As far as CMA in the vernacular - If you notice the message to MacArthur was sent by the Chairman of the JCS. MacArthur was popular (my father detested the man) and the political fallout could have hurt Truman. There was plenty of CMA there.

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