ARRL ARES Communicator's Comments - 2018-09-23 - Final

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio Emergency Communications' started by W.T. Jones, Sep 30, 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
    The Only Version
    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®Net Control Schedule
    • !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    • Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 8/4/2018
    • 2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 9/23/18)...
    • Weekly Images
    • An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
      • That's It...
      • What this Bulletin (Originally called a Broadcast) was in the beginning...
      • Future Digital Bulletins...
      • SSES Exercise...
      • The LCADN is no more...
      • Quarterly Message Challenge...
      • The New EC for Luzerne County...
      • Just for N3DJK...
      • LCARES Challenge...
      • Closing It Out...
      • Contact Information...
      • Thank you...
    • Ham Radio Links
    • Closing
    Bulletin Date: September 30, 2018
    Bulletin Number: 218 (That is It! There ain't no more!)

    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
    4.0.18 4.0.7 2.2.03
    Current as of: September 30, 2018. *Indicates an update in the past week.
    Latest versions available at
    or at

    Luzerne County ARES®Net Control Schedule
    The Rotation Schedule for the LCARES Voice net has been posted on the Last update: August 1, 2018

    Please be sure to review the NCS schedule before the upcoming nets.

    !Luzerne County LCARES Announcements...
    Announcements for the net will now come from N3SRO.
    Click Here for Net Schedules of Interest - updated on 8/4/2018
    2018 LCARES Members Operational Status - Net Stats - Bulletin Responses (updated 9/23/18)...

    Note: Credit is given for responding but to win, place, or show the answer has to be correct.
    Sunday Night Bulletin for September 23, 2018 Responses
    1st Response
    2nd Response
    3rd Response
    Thank you to all who have faithfully responded to the challenges over the past year.

    Weekly Images
    An ARRL ARES®Communicator's Comments
    That's It...
    - The CW Literate will recognize the weekly image. Depending on your perspective it could be SK or VA but it means the same. "End of Work" and it probably should be followed by CL for "Closing Station" but you get the idea. This will be the last Luzerne County ARES Bulletin. Any announcements, information, or other pertinent ARES news will come from N3SRO in a form that he finds useful.

    What this Bulletin (Originally called a Broadcast) was in the beginning...
    - This effort starting in August of 2014. So I am a little bit over 4 full years of sending this. According to the records it has been an uninterrupted string for the past 20 months. Every Sunday it has gone out and I am rather proud of that. It started as a way to let our ARES members practice with Fldigi and its parts. No Flamp. Just a purely text based transmission.

    The content was a repeat of what KB3FXI sent on the paNBEMS nets. Here is an example.

    November 16, 2014
    paNBEMS 80m Bulletin/Liaison Net is requesting the help from NBEMS capable stations to act as Liaisons to practice moving information and messages to and from paNBEMS and other local/regional voice and data nets.
    paNBEMS 80m weekly Bulletin/Liaison Net starts at 7:30 PM ET every Sunday evening with NCS call on 3.583 MHz USB (+/- 500 Hz) using 8/500 Olivia, 1500 Hz center waterfall frequency followed by a FLAMP transmission approx 20 minutes in duration using mode MFSK-32.

    Pretty boring but Dave, KB3FXI, did what he could with what he had. I started adding more to make it interesting...

    An Expert is someone who:
    1. knows more and more about less and less.
    2. has been paid to provide you with information you already know.
    3. cannot talk about anything but his expertise.
    4. has more data than good sense.
    5. is smart enough to be scared about what is going on.
    6. manages to make smaller errors while on the way to the big one.
    7. has made all the mistakes before you started on the problem.

    And the etomology of the word "expert":
    ex - a has been, a former great, out of date
    pert - a drip, squirt, usually under some pressure
    So an expert is nothing more than a has-been drip under pressure.

    Be wary of experts.... (still true today)

    de wn3lif

    As the ARES group became more adept at Fldigi and setting up their radios our speed started to increase.

    In November 2014 I started the format that the Sunday Night Broadcast as it would be called. Here is a link to what it looked like.

    As I created the SNB I learned a lot about how Fldig, Flmsg, and Flamp worked. Today, the technical part just happens and when it doesn't I am the first to be surprised.

    I have tried to keep the content interesting because once the container becomes boring there has to be something inside to keep the people coming back. While I found (and still find) Fldigi interesting I know that some of you who have shorter interest spans would be off to something else unless I provided something good for you to read.

    Future Digital Bulletins...
    - While this is the last LCARES Bulletin it will not be the last digital bulletin coming out of WN3LIF. However, future bulletins will be less labor intensive and the Sunday Night version will still be for anyone who wants to copy them. They may even go out on HF. The bulletin will be for District 3 centric and contain things of interest to all in District 3 and Amateur Radio in general. A fair concentration on ARES to be sure but there is going to be some fun stuff as well.

    After the bulletin is sent it will be emailed in PDF form to the ECs in District 3. I'll let them know what they need to do with it when they receive it.

    There won't be any challenges. They are history. That is unless one of the ECs sends me one to put into the Bulletin. Never can tell. They may want to know if their ARES members are reading it.

    The time required to do the LCARES bulletin is rather intensive and very detailed. I wanted it to be in front of not only the LCARES members but the Section, Division, and others of our served agencies. That has either been accomplished or it was wasted time. Never hear anything from them so I'll assume it was wasted effort. They are probably frying bigger fish than me.

    October 7 will be the first bulletin-less Sunday in a long time. I want to see if I remember what a Sunday that does not require me to be typing like a nut is like. On October 14th the District 3 Bulletin will start up. Stay tuned because I think you'll like the content.

    SSES Exercise...
    - Since this is the last LCARES SBN I'll be sending out emails to the SSES volunteers. The October 14th D3DB will have a set of test messages in MT63-2KL mode so that everyone can make sure they are ready to roll.

    The LCADN is no more...
    - As of October 2nd the Luzerne County ARES Digital Net will be replaced with the District 3 Digital Net (D3DN). The net will be for the entire District (or those that can hear the 146.46 repeater) and the content will be a little more relaxed even though there will be some training on message handling. Time to send some pictures! The schedule will be posted on the web site. In general it will be to learn more about Fldigi and have some fun with it. Maybe get a little creative. It will be different

    Quarterly Message Challenge...
    - The QMC is suspended for the time being. Once the new EC decides what he wants to do about it. He will need to write the scenarios for the challenge for it to continue.

    The New EC for Luzerne County...
    - N3SRO is taking the reins. I wish him well. He is rested and refreshed as is evident by his pictures he sent me from his recent vacation.

    "this week operating portable from Outer Banks, NC. Using the Modular Portable Antenna System (MPAS) from Chameleon Antenna and a Kenwood TS-2000, contacts were made all over the US, central America, Cuba and multiple countries in Eastern Europe using digital modes and Single Side Band." de N3SRO

    [​IMG] [​IMG]
    Nothing like a little casual operating from a sunny location to refresh the mind and spirit.

    Just for N3DJK...
    - In response to a question from N3DJK and using the mic and earphone jack on the computer to interface to the radio. Yep it can be done. It was the way of the world 8 to 10 years ago. It was a bit of a kludge but it worked and worked very well. There will be some issues at the higher speeds if you don't turn off all the sound processing in the computer but other than that it works.

    Here are some links to various articles about using the mic and earphone connectors. (Julian is now an SK. He was a great man and left us too soon.)

    There a lot more to be found but be careful because some of them are just trying to sell you something.

    This is the schematic of the first one that I used....


    Note that the audio transformers are just 1:1. They are for isolation and that is it. The levels are set using the variable resistors.

    LCARES Challenge...
    - Just kidding - no challenge.

    Closing It Out...
    - The past several weeks have seen many of our members suffer with health issues. As I write this I have in my mind all those Luzerne County ARES members who showed up when I called but now can no longer do that. I am getting close to that myself but I definitely am not out yet.

    Last night I sent out my final SEC Monthly Update. More than likely I will still be an Assistant SEC for our new Section Manager. I will be the District 3 DEC and the stand-in DEC for District 2 with an eye to recruiting one to take it over in a very short time.

    I have cut back already on my things but as I told K2OZO I have over done it for so long that cutting back altogether would probably cause an EC's version of The Bends. I have to slow down gradually. What I will not continue to do is the heavy lifting at the keyboard except for working the radio. I have done that for the past week and except for the farewell SEC MU and this I have not really written anything. I have enjoyed my "date days" with Jan and I intend to make more of them. I have enjoyed sitting on the living room floor playing the Taffster. I definitely intend to do more of that.

    My CW skills have suffered over the years and I intend to enjoy more of that without working to squeeze in 1 CW Q a day and often not doing that.

    Most of all I am not going to worry about badgering people to go do things. That is now the ECs job. I will probably go and volunteer to do some things in other counties when they are having an event that needs an operator or two extra. I have always said that the worst thing about being the EC is trying to get lumps to move. I know there are conflicts but some don't have a conflict. They just have a high resistance to moving. So be it. I just don't want to be the person to have to motivate them anymore.

    As the D3 DEC I'll have 6, count 'em, 6 people to motivate. Three of them I won't have any problem with and I'll have to keep up with them. One I'll have to give some guidance to but he is already doing some good things. The other 2 are going to require some effort but I'll get them to come around.

    I agreed to be the D3 DEC with some stipulations and one of those is hire and fire. I want to see some fire in the belly along with some fun. I had 34 counties to shepherd for a long time. Now these poor 6 are going to have my undivided attention. Its going to be fun!

    Contact Information...
    - The and the will be active for a little longer. I hope to retire them both completely by October 17th. After that my District 3 DEC email will be If W3GWM decides that my offer of being the ASEC is good enough to accept I will probably add an ASEC address to keep things separate. My personal email address is my call at gmail. Please feel free to use it.

    Update: Heard from our new SM today. He wants me as the Assistant SEC with the assignment of the Eastern PA Section ARESMAT representative and as an advisor to the new SEC. I like the ARESMAT function and I am very interested in seeing some success with it. Besides I get to mix with the movers and shakers of the emcomm world in the other sections. That should prove to be a bunch of fun. Since I really don't want another email address to manage I'll just use the DEC one.

    The new Luzerne County EC's contact email is All Luzerne County ARES related business should be directed to him. If he has questions about what to do I am sure he'll get in touch with me but I have complete faith in Dave. If I didn't he would not be the new EC.

    Thank you...
    And finally to all the Luzerne County ARES members who have supported me and made me look good my heartfelt thanks. I am very proud of what you have accomplished over the years. You have done great things. Remember that. YOU have done great things. I may have been a catalyst to the effort but it was you, all of you, who did the job when needed.

    Thank you for everything! See you on the repeater!

    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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    Never mind - no one has ever sent one before.

    Have a good week everyone!


    ARRL EPA District 3 District Emergency Coordinator
    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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