ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-05-13

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, May 13, 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 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 4/8/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 5/6/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • Short One Tonight...
      • Books and More Books...
      • GoKits with radios...
      • How do you define Reliable...
      • LCARES Challenge...
      • Happy Mothers Day...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: May 13, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 198

    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 4.0.6 2.2.03
    Current as of: April 1, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.
    Latest versions available at
    or at
    Luzerne County ARES® Information...
    - Important: The Sunday Night Bulletin is required reading for all LCARES Members. If you are busy look for the things with the ! in front of them.

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the Last update: April 24, 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. N3SRO has requested NCS time during the LCARES Voice Net. His schedule permits May 8th, 15th, and 22nd. Due to his travel schedule he has been assigned those dates as NCS. If his schedule changes and he cannot take any of those dates then the listed ANCS will be the NCS for the net. WN3LIF will be the ANCS.
    2. Recently the TM@EOC have conflicted with training mandated by County Management. There is absolutely nothing that can be done about this issue by EMA management. The EMA Director and Deputy Director are not happy with the situation but it is out of their control. If training is in progress at the EOC on Tuesday Mornings then the TM@EOC will be canceled by default. The EC will make every effort to alert the usual TM@EOC group before hand to prevent a wasted trip.
    3. The Nescopeck Duathlon is scheduled for Sunday, May 20th, at Nescopeck State Park. This is an easy effort. 6 operators can cover the event without any problem using HTs. So it is not like the Commex. There are 4 operators confirmed so far. Email to to confirm your presence.
    4. *The computer in the LCARES is being rebuilt from the ground up. The recovery of the disk drive worked to some extent but there are some glitches. It is being built from the ground up again to make it reliable. It would have been done by now but unfortunately the County's network is fighting the effort. Please take a hands off attitude with that system until further notice.
    Click Here for the Luzerne County ARES®Activities Schedule
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 4/8/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 5/6/18)...

    Note: Credit is given for responding but to win, place, or show the answer has to be correct.
    Sunday Night Bulletin for May 6, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    2nd Response
    3rd Response
    tied @ 2138hrs
    Total Bulletin Responses for Last Week - 9

    Weekly Images
    The view from WN3LIF's backyard on May 12th. A beautiful end to a great day!

    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    Short One Tonight...
    Tonight is going to be a short bulletin. Why? I did what I really like doing for the past 3 days. I was at the range more than I was home. Thursday was designing stages, Friday it was setting up the stages, and Saturday it was go and shoot them, take them apart, put the stuff away, and go talk with the rest of the shooters over lunch. Sunday, I am making dinner for my wife even though the only thing that she is the mother of is here nutty husband and her erstwhile Corgi.

    BTW, I will not be available on Monday at all. If the world goes to pieces then it will have to do it without me.

    Books and More Books...
    I took advantage of a coupon from the ARRL and ordered some books. Yes, real paper books. Sorry trees! Some of your relatives have bought the farm to satisfy my lust for knowledge.

    The book that I am replacing is from the Radio Society of Great Britain (RSGB) which when I had it found it to be a great reference source. "Successful Wire Antennas" has been constant companion. That is until I misplaced or loaned to someone. Not sure which but put it under the heading of my bad on that. More than likely it is buried on my work bench under the DF antenna project, 2 firearms that need new night sights, several projects that are waiting for parts that should have been ordered long ago, an axe that needs a new handle installed (the handle is there but just have not seemed to getting the roundtuit to fix it), several boxes of very heavy bullets that need to be moved over to the reloading bench, some spent brass that needs to be cleaned, a myriad of tools, gun cleaning paraphernalia,and after Thursday a set of small engine parts that were acquired to make the lawn mower go vrooom again. The only things that I can say that is not on top of the work bench are any projects for the Lady of the Jones Manor. The Project Manager for those keeps on the handy man until they are completed.

    I have always like wire antennas. Fascinating things. Phased antennas have always been something that enjoyed trying when I had the space to do that. Lots of coax at the right length can make dipoles directional.

    One of the other books I ordered is one yagis. Better know as beams. I have a bunch of spare PVC pipe and 12 gauge wire that will become a 2 element portable 10 meter beam. And one for 6 meters as well. We're going back to Ricketts Glen this summer on a Tuesday Morning and play some more. I have a 6 meter ground plane but I think a vertical for 10 meters will be in the offing as well. Might as well have some fun and play with antennas for a while.

    And I just want to play with some antennas too. That is probably the best reason I can think of to do it.

    GoKits with radios...
    I was nosing about the storage shed on Thursday. I knew I had a bottle of 5W-40 oil somewhere in there. Never found the oil but I did manage to find 4 ammo boxes. Another distraction in the quest to make the lawn mower go vrooom! I was looking at the latest posting from OH8STN and his comments about having a computer built into the rig made a lot of sense. Especially since we pretty much in a digital age. Time for a Raspberry Pi and the FT-857D project. And one or two of the ammo cans. The FT-817 has its own home and a Beagle Bone computer so I won't be taking that to the project bench.

    Here is the link to the OH8STN posting for you to consider:

    How do you define Reliable...
    - The Comm Ex experiment on 10 meters was not a dismal failure. There was a challenge there. The Challenge was to make it happen on 10 meters. A good effort was made by all but in the end the "out" was approved by the EC. Not a big deal by any means since the messages were passed.

    What would have happened if the 2 meter "Out" was not available. The scenario for the Comm Ex stated that the mountain top infrastructure was gone. That included our repeaters as well as the Public Safety equipment. A 2 meter simplex connection might have been possible from Ricketts Glen to the EOC but do we know for sure? There might be from the top of Red Rock but again do we know for sure? The other band that has discussed was 6 meters. That is certainly a possibility but do we know for sure? A connection on 75 meters was proven during the 2017 Comm Ex. So we can be pretty sure about that. Right? Maybe this year that might not have worked because of the NVIS variables. Today on 80 meters NVIS from here to Williamsport didn't work. Worked well to Pike County and Chester County but those two counties could not hear each other.

    VHF and UHF point to point are reliable when there is a good path between the points but that cannot always be obtained. That is why the contesters like to hedge their bets and get as high as they can. HF can be a crap shoot at almost any time. That is especially true when marginal antennas and less than optimal ancillary equipment (cables, connectors, electron grease) is used.

    Reliable therefore becomes a matter of speculation. An example of what reliable is can be the light switch in your home. Think of how many times you have doubted that the light won't come on when you flip the switch. Probably not that many times. You expect to come on when you move that little mechanical marvel called a switch. Electricity is always there. And when it is not you are surprised and sometimes confused. You want to know why its not there and what happened to cause you inconvenience in your normal routine. Some times you will even get a tad angry.

    As a history note - that example of reliable used to be the dial tone but many of today's inhabitants of the U.S. have never heard a dial tone.

    If we are to be reliable as far as communications are concerned we have to know what works. The Comm Ex provided an easy "Out" when 10 meters did not work. Just a sentence in the plans allowed all the problems to go away. Real life won't be that simple.

    ARES is described as the 3rd Line of Defense in communications. That means when the powers that be get to the point of using us the telephones (which includes cell, fax, landlines) are no longer functioning and their radio systems have gone toes up. The saying "When All Else Fails..." means that we need to fill the breech. We may not have repeaters and we have to depend on only what we own. We had better know exactly what we need to do to be reliable. There will be Light Switch Flippers looking at us to make it happen. And there just may not be a line in the plans that give us an out.

    The idea that the EC or AEC will have a plan for that situation is a fallacy. If Plan A fails then you had better have a Plan B, C, D, E, and maybe even F. Fancy gadgets and things are not going to come to your rescue. And what the EC or AEC are going to say is "I need you to go to point X on the map and establish communications back to point Y. The only thing they have is HF (or VHF or UHF)." And the answer cannot be "I don't know how."

    ARES, simply stated, is Amateur Radio Operators volunteering themselves and their equipment in times of disaster. If you have a radio that operates from 430MHz to 1.8MHz you should know every method of using every frequency between those two places on the dial. If you sit back and are satisfied with operating on 1 band for your entire ham life you are wasting a good radio, missing out on some great fun, and not fulfilling your potential of being a communicator. It is so easy to put up an antenna that will work the world. Why? Because the world wants to work you. In an emergency it will be only one small station that wants to work you. You would won't have the benefit of a radio shotgun. You'll need the precision, accuracy, knowledge, and experience of a radio sniper rifle. Only the warm blooded part of the communications system can develop that.

    This past week I attended the latest in a series of conference calls about ARES Mutual Assistance Teams. One of the topics was who do we want to be on those teams. There was a lot of hemming and hawing but in the final analysis it was decided that the members of the teams need to be people who can go and do on any frequency. It may be HF. It may be as a NCS on 2 meters. It may be as a winlink operator or Fldigi operator. The kind of operator who knows the drill or can learn it in two or 3 heartbeats. It is a big demand to be able to be an operator like that. Equipment is cheap and easy to get. The warm body that touches the dials and knobs is not.

    It is all about being reliable. Think you're up to it?

    Happy Mothers Day...
    Since this is the end of Mothers Day 2018 I put this at the end of the SNB. I hope that all of you took time to remember your Mothers today. I hope that all of you who are Mothers were remembered. Life is so short and precious just as your time with your Mother is. Treasure each moment with your Mother. If you don't then some day you will have a wish that cannot be fulfilled and that is for more time with your Mother.

    Have a wonderful week!

    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.
  2. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    Hope you found the pot o' gold.

    <LOL> Love the term...
  3. W.T. Jones

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

    I can't take credit for that term.

    I got it from the High Availability Computing group at HP when I was an HP Minion. They were all about reliability and the need to be there when the customer wanted it to be there.

    While I didn't really worry about campus wide networks or highly redundant disks I did take the reliability lessons to heart.
    wedgar likes this.
  4. wedgar

    wedgar Administrator Staff Member Gold Member

    We had a term at work that came from a fellow working at IBM. The term "gonkulation" was used for what ever computer processes were used for the process. It stuck and I use it in our tax processing business and people seem to like the term. (No one likes doing tax preparation and gonkulation is a mysterious process to fill out your tax return.

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