ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-03-11

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Mar 11, 2018.

  1. W.T. Jones

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

    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 3/11/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Guess That Challenge Got Every One...
      • Skywarn Activation - Again...
      • Binghamton Skywarn Yahoo Group....
      • LCARES Computer...
      • Monthly Message Challenge...
      • Simplex Night...
      • Planning...
      • Can't Get Enough of Fldigi?...
      • Spring Skywarn Training...
    • EPA-ARRL Web site...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: March 11, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 189

    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: March 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: March 11, 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 2018 Communications Exercise is set for April 28th. The planned frequencies will be on 2 meters and 10 meters. There are plans for 2 fixed locations and at least 3 mobile stations.
    2. A dry-run of the proposed locations for the April Commex will be held on March 31st. The EC would like as many LCARES members who can make it come and try it out.
    3. * Simplex Test Night will be on Tuesday Evening March 13th following the LCARES Net. Please make every effort to be HOME and get one the air for the Simplex Test. The frequency will be 147.54mHz.
    4. March 17th will be a Tech Day at the EOC. I am not going to start it at the crack of dawn like I usually do. Lets start at 11:00AM and go to 3:00PM. The topic is open forum. Bring a problem or idea and lets see where this goes. The April version will be Direction Finding.
    5. Congratulations to KC3JXL on completing her ICS Training Courses!
    6. *Your EC will not be at the TM@EOC. He will be there some time afternoon. The LCARES Room Computer is still in the process of recovery. Please do not do the update on it.
    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 3/11/18)...

    Note: Credit is given for responding but to win, place, or show the answer has to be correct.
    Sunday Night Bulletin for February 25, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    Mark - WB3FKP
    2nd Response

    3rd Response

    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 12
    Weekly Images
    On March 10th, on one of my last trips as the EPA SEC, I attended the Montgomery County ARES meeting in Eagleville, PA.
    Right next to the Streamlight facility for those who copied my blurb on Tuesday night.
    Bob Heil, K9EID, of Ham Nation Fame, gave a talk on setting up your audio properly. It was a great presentation.
    Click on the image to go to the Heil Sound Web Site. Lots of good information there.
    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Guess That Challenge Got Every One...
    - I guess the LCARES Challenge last week got most but not all our "Over The Air" responders. I still appreciate the responses even though the question caught you off guard. The question asked how many Amateur Radio Operators participated in the March 3rd Winter Skywarn Response. The first Skywarn Activation was on March 2nd. So the correct answer for the March 3rd date would have been 0. Congratulations to WB3FKP for getting the answer correct.

    I won't be so obtuse this time around.

    Skywarn Activation - Again...
    - Seems like this is getting to be routine. Well, at least it is not boring. And they are noticing our efforts in Binghamton. Dave Nicosia, KC2PLQ, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, sent his thanks for re-invigorating Skywarn. We didn't re-invigorate it. We just found the key to getting the BGM office on the right repeater. And we discovered that we can get into the 146.865 Skywarn Repeater in Binghamton.

    And that is another one of those screwy things. I can get to the Skywarn Repeater from here in Duryea and N3PQP can get to it from Harding. I cannot get to it from the EOC though. I am glad that N3PQP can make because that gives me a backup in the event something goes wrong. Bob - Skywarn Activation - Stay Home!

    Here are the reports for March 7th...

    Call Report City
    kc3fkw 4.8” Dallas
    k3bs 5” Drums
    wn3lif trace roads wet grass snow covered Duryea
    wb3dye 8” Foster Township
    w3rc 4.5” Freeland
    n3pqp 1.5” Harding
    kc3hlq 2.0” (Shawn’s Report) Moosic
    k3zk 2.8” Nanticoke
    kc3hlt 3.8” Nanticoke
    ka3grs 3.3” Plains
    kc3imk 1” Plains
    k3ik 4” Shavertown
    kb3vs 4.0” Sweet Valley
    kc3jxl 3” Sweet Valley
    ab3zi 2.3” Wilkes-Barre
    kb3fvf trace roads wet grass snow covered Wilkes-Barre
    So WB3DYE took the prize for the most snow.

    I know that several people, none of them Hams, have had a negative attitude about the predictions for the March 7th snow storm. Hey, there was uncertainty right up till it started snowing. The people at the National Weather Service really wish they could draw a line on the map and say "It will go that way!" But God made Mother Nature a really variable entity. A warm spot in the ocean, a bit more pressure in the air, and who knows what will happen. They do their best and I, for at least one, appreciate their efforts.

    And I sincerely appreciate all of you. Thank you for being there when it snows, when the river comes up, and the SSES needs tending. You really are a great group.

    I do want to acknowledge our friends from Hazleton who have been showing up with Skywarn Reports. W3RC has been helpful with pushing out the emails to the ARA email list. If you let the guys in Hazleton that help is needed they are there.

    Binghamton Skywarn Yahoo Group....
    - There is a Yahoo Group that NWS Binghamton uses to communicate with us about activities including upcoming foul weather. You can log on to Yahoo Groups and search for BGMSKYWARN. When you join state that you are part of Luzerne County ARES.

    The more of us that belong to that group the better.

    LCARES Computer...
    - Things last and some things don't last. The LCARES system bought the farm last week. The disk drive developed some corruption which affected the greeter (that screen you get to long on) and the desktop. Spinrite fixed the disk and a quick recovery using the Live CD has gotten us back to operational. Still a few things to do to complete the recovery but for the most part it is ready to use.

    Since it happened and there isn't much I could do about it I decided to make the best of a bad thing. For a long time Xastir has been the APRS client. It is still useful but it is getting long in the tooth and development has pretty well ended on it. It is time to move on.

    I purchased a cable for the D710 that allows for the use of the internal TNC. That will allow me to eliminate the soundmodem software which was a bit of pain to start. That will be a change from what was there. It will also eliminate the need for one signalink and free that up for other things.

    The new software is called YAAC. I have been using YAAC at home and it is very good. I'll give everyone a guided tour once it is installed.

    The Developer of YAAC is located in Chester County, PA. It is written in JAVA and runs on Windows, Linux, and Macs. If you want to take a look at it here is the link to the web site.

    Monthly Message Challenge...
    - Since Jan's broken arm and subsequent surgery I have not had two minutes together to get the March version of Monthly Message Challenge up.

    The good news is all but 3 people have sent in their message for the 1st Quarter of this year. Remember, one per quarter is all you need to stay current. More are fine but if you get busy like me then just get that one in.

    I'll do what I can to get the March MC up this week. The quarter is ending so I want to give everyone a chance.

    Simplex Night...
    - March 13th is Simplex Test Night. I am going to be at the EOC for the net so that I can judge who I can hear and who needs a relay to be heard. The Net will have normal business but no comment session. Training messages and other traffic will get passed as well as the reading of the announcements. As soon as the normal business of the net is finished I'll let the net know how things will work.

    Here is how I think it will work. I hope.

    The net will move the 147.54mHz. This is our county wide simplex frequency and has been since the late 70s.

    All stations will move to that frequency and LISTEN for instructions from NCS.

    I will call for any station that can hear W3LUZ to check-in with me. Once I have that list I will start with the first station and ask them to call for check-ins. The station will relay anyone that they hear to me. Then I will go to the next station on that list that I heard directly and have that repeated. I will run through the entire list that I heard direct at the W3LUZ.

    Stations that do not hear the initial call should hang on until at least 9:00PM. They just may hear one of the other stations calling for check-ins.

    The last thing is all stations, even if they don't get acknowledged during the net, should send an email to listing the stations that they heard. Some may be receiving better than they are transmitting.

    I am going to turn on all the rigs in the LCARES room. I do want to see what rig gives us the best coverage on simplex. So if I don't acknowledge you right away please be patient. I may be sliding around the room on my chair checking each of the rigs.

    I would ask one of you to come into the LCARES room to help with this if you are willing. That would make life a tad easier. So if you are local to the EOC, this is in the Valley, and want to come in please let me know.

    BTW, and this is just one of those "futures" as the product development guys used to say. I have been told that we may be getting new coax runs from the tower to the LCARES room this year along with improved grounding. That would really be nice to know that run of coax goes to what antenna.

    - The cell phone outage that happened on March 2nd indicates that our planning really needs to be strengthened. I do as good a job as possible but my imagination only goes so far. And I am not that imaginative anyway.

    Here is your chance to think outside of the box. What can you imagine as communications need that LCARES might fill? I am open to anything as long as it does not include space aliens or a monster arising from the depths of the Susquehanna. Think of what ever you might. We can't plan for things if we don't have some ideas.

    The plan that governs Luzerne County EMA is called the "ALL HAZARDS" plan. It works for the SSES, river flooding, and weather. Apparently, it does not cover cell phone outages. We have cell phone outages. Start thinking and let me know what you come up with. We'll create a list of issues that we might help with if they happen.

    Can't Get Enough of Fldigi?...
    - Fldigi is a fun tool but if you are only using it on Tuesday and Sunday nights you are missing out on a lot of fun and some good information.

    Sunday Mornings at 8:00AM on 3.585mHz and the usual 1500Hz center frequency is the paNBEMS net. Check in and get on your way. Can't check-in? Leave your rig on that frequency with the "text capture" enabled to see what is going on.

    Don't like Sunday Mornings? Then Saturday Morning at 8:00AM is the New York State NBEMS net on the same frequency.

    Give it a try.

    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.

    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.

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