ARES E-Letter for August 17, 2005
The ARES E-Letter offers a useful source of timely information for those interested in public service and emergency communications. The ARES E-Letter includes time-sensitive news, informative items, and ideas of interest to ARES communicators. Premier Issue: The ARES E-Letter Covering Emergency Communications and Public Service A NEW E-LETTER FOR YOU! Welcome to the debut of the ARES E-Letter! Monthly issues will bring the ARES communicator a wealth of after-action reports, editorials, technical tips, news, and views in a more expeditious manner than QST with its integral editorial delay. Timeliness, utility and inspiration are the goals of this new monthly devoted entirely to Amateur Radio emergency communication, all for you, the field activists. You are receiving this e-letter because you have proved that you are keenly interested in emergency communications and public service. However, if you already receive more email than you can keep up with, you may opt out of receiving this -- please see the final paragraphs of this e-letter, below. After having served as a Newington pencil pusher for twenty years, the ARES E-Letter's new editor retired to Florida--a ground zero as far as natural disasters go. Last year, the state better known for its embarrassing case of electile dysfunction in 2000 was the scene of four calamitous hurricanes that ripped up lives and property--we adopted a new moniker, "The Plywood State." It was a wonder to monitor firsthand the Floridian radio amateurs fulfilling their public service mission by providing communications for their neighbors and response agencies, in some cases directly in the path of harm's way. For example, as I huddled with my wife in the center of the living room of our wind-buffeted, boarded-up house in Flagler County during one storm, I listened with simultaneous horror and admiration as ARES AEC Merrill Musikar, KG4IDD, transmitted his mobile position out in the maelstrom on his way to delivering another radio to an emergency shelter full of terrified community members. That is dedication, I thought to myself. He and his father, AEC Jay Musikar, AF2C, along with EC Art Cooper, AB4QQ, were providing support to the county's emergency operations center. A plethora of stories like this one propelled Amateur Radio back into the forefront of the minds of relief agency planners on both the county and state levels. A recent statewide meeting in Tallahassee focused on honing plans for Amateur Radio in the context of the current hurricane season. As this is being written, storms are revving up in the Caribbean basin and Gulf of Mexico, aimed this way. It won't be long before the storm shutters are pulled down, the repeaters are brought up, and the fur flies once again here in the country's "sunshine" state. Those of you on the frontlines of ARES activations: this new ARES E-Letter is for you! We hope you enjoy this maiden voyage. THANKS--ARRL wishes to thank David Thorne, K6OJ, for his pioneering efforts with emcomm newsletters; he is credited with setting the standard for such newsletters. The content of his letter, EmComm Monthly (which can be read at www.emcomm.org/em/), and The ARES E-Letter are quite different, since the latter will contain much more information pertaining directly to the ARRL Field Organization, Field Appointees and our EComm courses and certification. SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL PREPAREDNESS MONTH 2005--ARRL is a coalition member supporting a nationwide effort to encourage Americans to better prepare for emergencies. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the American Red Cross, National Preparedness Month 2005 is "to increase public awareness about the importance of preparing for emergencies and to encourage individuals to take action," according to a joint news release of both entities. "No community is truly prepared for a disaster until every individual, family and household takes personal responsibility for preparedness," said the Red Cross. "Chapters across the country are helping people learn how to create a family disaster plan so that each person knows what to do, where to go, and how to contact loved ones." ARRL has a longstanding memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Red Cross. Throughout September, Homeland Security and the Red Cross will work with government organizations and the private sector to highlight the importance of public emergency preparedness. ARRL joins more than 125 national organizations to distribute emergency preparedness information, host events and sponsor activities across the country. National Preparedness Month will teach Americans about preparing for emergencies, including natural disasters and potential terrorist threats. Events, activities, and messages across the nation will encourage individuals to get an emergency supply kit, make a family emergency plan, be informed about different threats and get involved in preparing their communities. The initiative launches on September 1, 2005 in Washington, D.C. ARRL will sponsor Amateur Radio Awareness Day and this fall's Simulated Emergency Test as part of its annual effort consistent with National Preparedness Month goals. See next story. AMATEUR RADIO PUBLIC AWARENESS DAY EMERGENCY POWER OPERATING EVENT SET FOR SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 17 -- Amateurs will participate in a 15-hour operating event on emergency power. On that day, amateurs make contacts with others who are also using only emergency power to demonstrate preparedness for emergency communications for the public. Emergency power can be any source that is completely separate from commercial mains: solar panels, generators, storage batteries, alternators powered by bicycles, battery packs in HTs, and wind power, for examples. Operation can be from home or field. Times: 9 AM Eastern (6 AM Pacific) on Saturday, September 17, 2005, until 12 AM Eastern (9 PM Pacific). All bands and modes included. The exchange is up to the individual operators but can include the traditional signal report, location, and the type of emergency power being used, for examples. W1AW will be QRV on generator power. A special QSL card will be available to those stations using emergency power that contact W1AW. (A regular QSL card will still be available to those stations that wish to contact W1AW, but who are not using emergency power). Please include an SASE with your card request, and please indicate the power source that was used (if applicable). IRONMAN ARIZONA 2005 -- On April 9, 2005 the Ironman Triathlon debuted in Tempe, Arizona, with Amateur Radio for communication support. Explorer Post 599 stepped up to the plate to provide APRS communications, a perfect mode for this special event. Scotty Cowling, WA2DFI, served as point ham. The mission was to provide APRS mapping to the interdisciplinary public safety team of agencies so that it could coordinate race operations. Image communication was also supplied via Amateur Radio to the Ironman staff on a two-minute basis for its coordination purposes. Scout Nate Kilzer, KD7FNH, wrote a program to automate this function, which worked flawlessly. Technical bugs were worked out and the team was ready on the eve of the race. The Ironman is a rigorous event: Athletes swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles, and run a marathon (26.2 miles) in less than 18 hours. On race day, Cowling and team effected use of five self-contained trackers. When used to track the bikes, they were bungee corded to trackers' motorcycles. When tracking the lead runners, they were similarly attached to the racks on bicycles. Bugs were worked out on the fly. After the lead competitors finished, the scouts were idle for several hours until it was time to send the sweep unit out. Scout David Clark, KD7NZK, Extra class at age 12, volunteered for sweep rider duty, and did an excellent job of shadowing the last runner allowing for positioning of sag units to ensure a timely response to runners needing assistance. Post event debriefing led the Deputy Fire Chief to comment "the communications center was the most efficient and professional group I have ever seen," and "the way we ran communications should be the model for every other event that comes to town." The event director added, "you guys did a remarkable job -- the ability to provide real-time tracking was icing on the cake for the communications side of this event." The Explorer Scouts of Post 599 made a significant contribution to the success of the first running of the Ironman in Arizona. See <http://www.post599.org/>. (Thanks to ARRL Arizona Section Emergency Coordinator Rick Aldom, W7STS) INTERNATIONAL BEAT United States' radio amateurs are among the best-trained emergency communicators in the world. Our obligations in the realm of emergency communication do not stop at the country's borders, especially here in the Americas of ITU Region 2 where smaller countries' disaster mitigation assets are quickly overwhelmed. We are in a unique position to contribute to the functioning of emergency communication across the entire region. We should meet this obligation to the best of our ability. The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Region 2 Emergency Coordinator (abbreviated as EMCOR) is an international coordinating, planning and organizational position, spreading knowledge of the international organization of emergency management and communication. The EMCOR is familiar with the emergency communication structure and resources of the Region 2 countries through continuing liaison with area advisors and the region's IARU Member-Societies. The EMCOR maintains a database of up-to-date key contact information including telephone, fax, E-Mail, and pertinent data about the capacity and capabilities of the emergency facilities of each Member Society and their respective emergency communication programs. Another EMCOR objective is to develop compatible international norms and standard operating procedures in a Region 2 International Emergency Communications Plan (R2IECP), and ensure its acceptance by all Region 2 Member Societies to promote efficiency in mutual assistance planning and operations. The IARU Region 2 EMCOR will also receive and publish reports from each major emergency operation in the region, and revise techniques and plans based on those actual experiences under disaster conditions. Finally, the EMCOR will encourage discipline and a professional manner in radio communication efforts. U.S. radio amateurs should be familiar with the Region 2 EMCOR program in the event that mutual assistance is needed during overwhelming disaster conditions anywhere in the region. For information, see the official IARU Region 2 EMCOR website: <http://www.iaru-r2emcor.net/> GAREC-2005 -- The first ever Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference took place on June 13-14, 2005, in Tampere, Finland. 17 countries including the U.S. (ARRL) and all three IARU Regions were represented. Delegates discussed the role of radio amateurs in emergency communications: the cooperation between hams and the institutional emergency response providers on the national level, and the exchange of experiences from recent events. The presentations showed how hams support the emergency responders as skilled volunteer telecommunication operators for the responders' networks as well as by providing their own global networks. The conferees also discussed ways to improve and facilitate the work of these networks. It concluded that the establishment of a "Center of Activity Frequency" for emergency traffic would be desirable. STORM ARLENE SENDS UP EARLY WARNING THAT HURRICANE SEASON HAS ARRIVED -- The first tropical system of the season, Arlene, visited a storm weary and wary Florida panhandle in June. Arriving nine months after Hurricane Ivan, Arlene was dubbed "Ivan's baby." But the West Panhandle ARES district was ready for the challenge. Escambia County ARES under the direction of EC Eugene Bannon, KB4HAH, manned the Escambia EOC and two shelters. Santa Rosa County ARES, under the leadership of the new EC Steve Ford, KG4SEW, staffed the Santa Rosa County EOC and a shelter. EC David Trentham and the Walton County ARES took care of the Walton County EOC and one shelter. The DEC of the West Panhandle District, Bobby Tyree, KG4KGX, was located at the Santa Rosa County EOC and tried to keep communications open with the entire District, Tallahassee and with the new SEC, Joe Bushel, W2DWR. A District-wide net was started at 1300 local time on Friday, June 10, and was monitored continuously until Saturday, June 11, at 1800. Luck held: Arlene caused little damage across the entire District. The West Panhandle District thanked all who participated and especially Bushel and Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, Northern Florida SM, for their excellent leadership. "Their help in getting us through this first tropical system of the year was invaluable," said Tyree, who provided this report. HURRICANE WATCH NET AND HURRICANE CENTER'S WX4NHC GET EARLY SEASON WORKOUT - While the ARES organization of DEC Bobby Tyree, KG4KGX, worked the Florida panhandle's needs, the Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) and WX4NHC at the National Hurricane Center in Miami activated Saturday, June 11, in support of their effort before Tropical Storm Arlene made landfall in the region. The storm, which produced considerable rainfall, never did reach hurricane status, although it had been expected to. Arlene caused scattered power outages affecting several thousand. The HWN activated on 14.325 MHz to gather ground-level weather data "ground truths" to relay via WX4NHC to hurricane forecasters, one of its most traditional functions. HWN Manager is Mike Pilgrim, K5MP, who secured operations on June 11. The first named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season, Arlene was a wake-up call for the entire southeastern and Gulf seaboards. AMATEUR RADIO EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS COURSE REGISTRATION -- Registration for the ARRL Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Level I on-line course (EC-001) opened on-line Monday, July 4. Although federal grant reimburseable seats are no longer available, the ARRL's corporate grant -- from United Technologies Corporation -- will continue to offer reimburseable seats for all 3 emergency communication courses through October. Level I courses open on the first Monday of the month at 1201 AM Eastern; Level II on the second Monday; and Level III on the third Monday. Because the number of seats now is fewer, the on-line registration window will close even quicker than previously. Therefore, it is recommended that applicants send a check or money order to "ARRL, ATTN CCE Reg, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111." Once received, this will assure them a seat in the next available class. To learn more, visit the ARRL Certification and Continuing Education Web page. For more information, contact Emergency Communications Course Manager Dan Miller, K3UFG, firstname.lastname@example.org; telephone 860-594-0340. PRESIDENT CITES AMATEUR RADIO'S VALUE IN EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS FOR SUPPORT OF SPECTRUM PROTECTION -- ARRL President Jim Haynie, W5JBP, commenting on the recently re-introduced Amateur Radio Spectrum Protection Act, said: "As you know, this legislation is vital for ensuring that the Amateur Radio Service, the only 100 percent fail-safe emergency communication capability, remains a viable public safety option." Haynie and ARRL are working on successfully passing this legislation during the 109th Congress. The legislation references Amateur Radio's role in providing "voluntary, noncommercial radio service, particularly emergency communications," and it points out that hams have "consistently and reliably" provided communication support in the event of emergencies and disasters including tornadoes and hurricanes, chemical spills, forest fires and rail accidents. Message: Long time observers of League pleadings in FCC rulemaking proceedings, and ARRL testimony before Congress, are well aware of the fact that we as radio amateurs hang our hats on the rack of public service, especially emergency and disaster communications, when it comes time to defending our valuable spectrum. When you are in the field during your next ARES activation, know that you are not only helping your community, but you are also helping us all to keep our precious bands: dual-purpose communications! EMERGENCY COMMUNICATION EVENT BRIEFS: Arizona, July 1, 2005--The Cave Creek fire burned over 199,000 acres and became the second largest fire in state history. Many hams were involved with emergency communications while fire fighters worked to put out this fire. (Thanks Tom Fagan, WB7NXH, ARRL Section Manager, Arizona) Western Washington, April 2005 -- The Seventh Annual Communications Academy's theme of "Standing Up to Challenges in Communications" educated over 240 attendees. The academy gave the opportunity to learn, share and network on a broad range of topics related to emergency communications. For many, it was their first academy attendance. Marina Zuetell, N7LSL, and her planning committee put the fantastic event together and was presented an ARRL Certificate of Merit by Section Manager Ed Bruette, N7NVP for her leadership role in seven academies and nine years as the ARES DEC for Medical Services. PowerPoint presentations given at the Academy will be posted on the <http://www.commacademy.org/> web site under "Session Handouts." (Thanks, ARRL Western Washington Section News) DENNIS POSTSCRIPT: Hurricane Dennis ended up sweeping over the western Florida panhandle and Alabama Gulf coast on Sunday, July 20. Veteran SM Rudy Hubbard, WA4PUP, indicated that seasoned ARES teams provide the required communication, and coordination with Tallahassee worked smoothly. Excerpts from the log of West Panhandle DEC Bobby Tyree, KG4KGX: Sunday, July 10, 1207 EDT-"Well, here it comes. Tropical force winds just reached the south end of Santa Rosa county. The eye [will] make landfall at 2 PM. Estimated storm surge of 17 feet. I am starting a District Net . . . and contacting all of the other counties at this time. It looks bad." 1412-"We are locked down until hurricane force winds die down. Shutters are closed at Santa Rosa EOC. Power outages exist in all four counties." 1839-"Santa Rosa got hit pretty badly. I believe several tornados touched down in the county. Jay Baptist Hospital lost its radio communications. My brand new Silverado got a tree across it, possibly totaled." Monday, July 11, 0756-"I am awaiting morning meetings in the counties to determine when EOCs will close. The Governor is on his way here, so I don't know what time all meetings will be over. Santa Rosa will be up for at least 2 more days." Tuesday, July 12, 1116-"Well, we're all still going. Santa Rosa is continuing to remain activated until the EOC goes to level II or as long as they are needed. Santa Rosa got the worst of the hurricane and will remain activated for probably two or more days." From Joe Bushel, W2DWR, ARRL Northern Florida SEC: "Dennis is now a memory, although not too pleasant a one. Most emergency operations across North Florida are shut down. Damage was localized but very heavy in some areas and will take weeks or months to clean up. For most of us outside the isolated severe damage areas, Dennis was a great drill that provided much needed experience. Unfortunately, Florida has had its share of "experience" over the last two years." ______________________________________________________________________ ARRL MEMBERSHIP. JOIN US or RENEW TODAY! -- When you join ARRL or renew your ARRL membership, you are investing in resources and programs that support thousands of ARES(r) volunteers. If you're a public service volunteer, but not an ARRL member, please consider joining today. The American Radio Relay League is the largest national organization of radio amateurs. The association serves radio amateurs through its four pillars: public service, advocacy, education and membership. With support from members, ARRL is committed to the protection, promotion and advancement of Amateur Radio. Every new and renewing member makes ARRL and its programs stronger and more effective. Thank you! Join or renew TODAY, www.arrl.org/join. Already an ARRL member? The ARRL Diamond Club is an exciting way to increase your involvement, support ARRL and receive valuable benefits, www.arrl.org/diamondclub. If you would like more information on making a financial contribution to ARRL, or for details about annual giving and ARRL funds, please visit www.arrl.org/development. GEAR, PUBLICATIONS, and MORE. -- ARRL offers books and other products to enhance your effectiveness as an emergency communications volunteer. Our newest title, "The ARRL Emergency Communication Handbook," includes details on basic emergency communication skills, message handling, and more. Browse the ARRL online store at www.arrl.org/shop, and select the Public Service <http://www.arrl.org/catalog/index.php3?category=Public+Service> product category. Show-off your support with distinctive products designed for the active emergency service volunteer: shirts, hats, vests, jackets gear bags and more. ARRL has teamed with Barker Specialty Company to provide quality products for ARES volunteers. To review the entire collection, or to order, please visit www.barkerspecialty.com/arrl. Personalization with your name and call sign is available on many items.