ARES E-Letter for September 26, 2008
The ARES E-Letter September 26, 2008 ================= Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor <http://www.qrz.com/database?callsign=K1CE>, =================================== ARES reports, other related contributions, editorial questions or comments: <email@example.com>;; =================================== + The View from Flagler County Hurricane Ike devastated Galveston, Texas, the site of the notorious disaster in 1900, as well as points north. Massive evacuations took place, and ARES was prepared for a major communications effort. I monitored the Hurricane Watch Net on 14.325 MHz. NCS W7GOX was looking for reports from stations along the Texas Gulf coast. For a comprehensive, current look at storm-related amateur operations, see the new issue of the ARRL Letter at: <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/08/0919/>. At the present time, all staffing requests have been met, and Sections have been asked to stand-down and thank all those that identified themselves as available. ARES volunteers around the country should continue to monitor tropical events, as the season does not end for two more months. Any updates on volunteer needs will be made known to the Section Managers and Section Emergency Coordinators and posted to the ARRL's Volunteer Web page at: <http://www.arrl.org/gustav/vol.html> According to Louisiana SM Gary Stratton, K5GLS, activity in his state status post Hurricane Gustav has wound down to only sparse local support at the city and parish level. Louisiana VOAD members have asked for no assistance. A few Louisiana ARES members are still supporting the Texas Emergency Net, and South Texas ARES officials will likely be asking for relief support for those who have been working since Ike came inland. Volunteers are supplying private equipment for mostly VHF operation in the Houston/Galveston and the southeast Texas areas of Orange, Beaumont, and Port Arthur. Louisiana SEC Jim Coleman, AI5B, has been in charge of the Louisiana effort, working with STX officials. _________ It has been a rough and tumble season so far, and we're only half way through it. In observing trends this season, one of the enhancements that struck me was the better coordination of possible movement of ARES volunteers to affected areas from other counties and sections. This was evident during Northern Florida's response to T.S. Fay, and continues on with the Gustav and now, Ike, situations. The coordination efforts of ARRL and its leadership officials across the pan-Gulf region is to be commended, and will likely be the topic of post-season debriefings in the months to come. _________ For Hurricane Gustav, Northern Florida was "Alerted." SM Paul Eakin, KJ4G, met with the State EOC team, who was concerned about south Florida. Eakin offered his ARES assets to neighboring ARRL sections to the south. Five Amateur Radio operators were available to the state tracking system from their homes to assist with all requests for Amateur Radio services. The idea was to expedite responses to served agencies and all the county EOCs throughout the state. This Tallahassee (TLH) "Gateway" team was established to operate these stations 24/7 as needed. The gateway system is per the request of the Florida state EOC, the principle served agency of Florida ARES. The TLH gateway stations were provided to assist any EOC or served agency who could not contact, or remain in contact by commercial or any other means with, the State EOC. Eakin was invited once again to be posted at the EOC. He had D-STAR and APRS communications capability, for stations to post info to the EOC. The state EOC also had the Southeastern Digital Area Network (SEDAN) packet system up and running, as another communications tool. Four W2K stations were also up. Eakin cited the ARRL HQ-coordinated conference calls as "a great idea for us in the hot zones to learn the status of the overall event." It was through these conference calls that Eakin was able to set up a relay backup system with the Mississippi section for mutual assistance. It seems we are in a new era of ARES communications that emphasizes cross-Sectional coordination and cooperation for mutual assistance, and a more proactive HQ role. _______ In This Issue: + The View from Flagler County + T.S. Fay Response + ARRL Sets up E-mail Addresses for Hurricanes, Tropical Storms + Hurricane Gustav Mutual Aid ARES Volunteer Protocol + New FEMA Training Course Essential: ESF #2 Communications + Red Cross Policy Re Health and Welfare Traffic Clarified + California's Hospital Disaster Support Communications Service Update + Boise, Idaho Fire Response + DHS Interoperability Manual, National Emergency Communications Plan + LETTERS: ARES Groups Should Publish Repeater Frequencies for Googling + Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ, New SEC for Ohio + Coaxial Antenna for EmComm + EmComm Briefs: + K1CE For A Final _______ + T.S. Fay Response T.S. Fay spent seven days in Florida. Every county was impacted in some way. Fay entered the state four times during her visit. Cost to government agencies so far is more than $11,000,000. Eleven deaths occurred. ARES skills were tested, and operations were assessed to make improvements and to be ready for the next one. After action reports are still being solicited and written to document the number of amateurs participating, hours worked, types of assignments, actions performed by amateurs that were above and beyond the call of duty, communication modes used other than voice and any other items highlighting Amateur Radio. Reports should also contain information pertaining to other volunteers who were involved: REACT, SKYWARN, SAR, K9, and so forth, to bring about a comprehensive communications picture. Northern Florida Section Manager Paul Eakin, KJ4G applauded ARES amateurs for a job well done: "It was quite evident that teamwork was involved to get assignments done. Many put in long hours, bought expensive fuel, and lost sleep in the performance of duties. Public officials have noticed what ham radio is all about. I especially commend those amateurs who volunteered to be deployed to the Crown district on short notice. Thanks also go to Susan Swiderski, AF4FO, Georgia SM, who provided amateurs for possible deployment into northwestern Florida." + ARRL Sets up E-mail Addresses for Hurricanes, Tropical Storms In an effort to streamline hurricane support operations at ARRL Headquarters, the League has set up two e-mail addresses for hams to pose questions or relay non-emergent information to HQ Staff relating to hurricane or named tropical storm events. If you need to communicate with ARRL HQ regarding these storms, please use <firstname.lastname@example.org> or <email@example.com>. While these e-mail addresses are not monitored on a 24/7 basis, they are monitored during each storm's descent on the US, as well as throughout the hurricane season. + Hurricane Gustav Mutual Aid ARES Volunteer Protocol As Hurricane Gustav hit southeast Louisiana, the ARES response was well-coordinated on an inter-Sectional basis. Throughout the storm week, ARRL coordinated conference calls among key ARES officials to foster communication and expedite any requests for assistance. As Amateur Radio operators prepared for Hurricane Gustav, the ARRL deployed complete radio stations comprised of industry-donated Amateur Radio equipment, thanks to the generous contributions of ARRL members to the Ham Aid Fund. Created in 2005 to assist with the response to Hurricane Katrina, the Ham Aid Fund is designated to finance Amateur Radio equipment needed for disaster response. In preparation for Hurricane Gustav, ARRL received requests for radio equipment from Louisiana and Texas. The shipping costs for this equipment were covered by the Ham Aid Fund. The storm event and response are well-documented in the ARRL Letter, so will not be revisited here. Please see <http://www.arrl.org/arrlletter/08/0905/>. What will be covered here is the method of coordination of volunteers used by ARRL Headquarters staff, a vast improvement over the past. In coordination with the Sections in the Gulf Coast area, certain protocols were to be used to request and accept ARES volunteers. They will likely be used for further storms this season, with possible modifications as we go along: 1. Interested volunteers should make their availability known to their home Section Manager and Section Emergency Coordinator. 2. The impacted Section(s) and ARRL HQ will post staffing requests to the SM, SEC and the storm Volunteer web page. A brief, specific description of what is requested will be listed. 3. SMs and SECs that have volunteers that are available will contact the requesting Section point of contact (POC) listed in the request. 4. The requesting Section POC will determine the viability of the resource offering and have the final decision on acceptance. 5. Once the request has been filled, a new posting to both e-mail lists and the web page will be made. 6. Specific reporting details will be provided by the Section POC. 7. Requesting Sections will utilize the closest ARES resources first. 8. ARES volunteers not cleared by the requesting POC will not be accepted or allowed entry into the disaster area. ARES assets that may be requested by National VOAD members (served organizations) will be processed through ARRL HQ by Dennis Dura, K2DCD. As additional details become available, and/or the protocol is altered, changes will be posted to the SM and SEC list, and here. See also the Volunteer Web page at: <http://www.arrl.org/gustav/vol.html> + New FEMA Training Course Essential: ESF #2 Communications An apparently new FEMA on-line course covers the Emergency Support Function (ESF) #2 "Communications" of the National Response Framework (NRF). It is essential that all amateur emcomm operators understand all ESFs, but particularly ESF #2. All ESFs are central to the operations of any EOC. See <http://training.fema.gov/EMIWeb/IS/IS802.asp>. The NRF presents the guiding principles that enable all response partners to prepare for and provide a unified national response to disasters and emergencies. It establishes a comprehensive, national, all-hazards approach to domestic incident response. The Framework defines the principles, roles, and structures that organize how we respond as a nation. It builds upon the National Incident Management System (NIMS)<http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nims/index.shtm>, which provides a consistent template for managing incidents. Information on the National Response Framework including Documents, Annexes, References and Briefings/Trainings can be accessed from the resource center <http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nrf/> -- Thanks to Eagle-Eye David Coursey, N5FDL, EC San Joaquin County, California + Red Cross Policy Re Health and Welfare Traffic Clarified This statement is from Keith Robertory, Disaster Service Technology Manager, American Red Cross, regarding Amateur Radio's role in Health and Welfare Traffic and the American Red Cross. "There has recently been some posting on Amateur Radio discussion groups on the Internet that is carrying false or misleading information. The Red Cross does not have a policy against amateur radio participating in passing health and welfare messages. In fact, we recognize the importance of amateur radio in being a vital method for people to get registered. "The American Red Cross welcomes the support of Amateur Radio Operators in connecting friends and family members together through our health and welfare programs. The grassroots, independent nature of Amateur Radio Operators in communities around the country make them well suited for this task. "General welfare messages are processed through the Red Cross Safe and Well Web site. This site allows people to register their status, which can be checked by friends and family who search by your name, address or phone number. A quick look at the Web site <http://disastersafe.redcross.org/> will show how both the registration process and search are done. "As few as two hams can set up an effective registration process. A ham located in the disaster zone can use any mode to transmit the basic Safe and Well registration information to another ham located outside the disaster area who would enter the information on the Web site. This quick ad-hoc setup doesn't rely on any affiliations and can be established by a call out to another ham who can help. "The Red Cross also processes welfare inquiry messages that contain specific medical information. These contain more sensitive and personally identifiable information at the same time that the Red Cross keeps confidential to respect client privacy. We are researching if and how these messages can be passed across open frequencies, and what federal restrictions (such as HIPPA) may impact how this is done. Thank you. -- Keith Robertory, Disaster Service Technology Manager, American Red Cross, KG4UIR" + California's Hospital Disaster Support Communications Service Update The venerable Hospital Disaster Support Communications Service (HDSCS) of Orange county, California, members are recouping from the Disneyland Half Marathon on August 31. The medical support for this event with 13,500 runners, was St. Joseph Hospital located in Orange. Because of its specialty of supporting hospitals, HDSCS has supported the medical communications for this event for two years. HDSCS provided 22 communicators who shadowed key staff for St. Joseph, provided comms from all the medical tents, were the communicators for the bicycle medics, stood by at key water stations, and were in the Disneyland command center. By 10:30 AM well over 500 runners had been attended to and treated in the 30 bed Main Medical Tent and reunion areas. HDSCS communicators were lauded for the organized network, their understanding of the medical environment, and the ability to get messages through quickly. As part of ongoing training, HDSCS members participated in field trips to learn about emergency department and trauma center functions as well as going through the various intensive care areas. It was invaluable for communicators who might have to back up communications from those most critical areas of the hospital. HDSCS participated in several single hospital drills so far this year. Most recently, it responded to Mission Hospital Regional Medical Center when a failure of a UPS caused a phone outage in one of the buildings on their campus. Communicators were on site for about 4 1/2 hours assisting with message relays from one building to others. Little did they know that it was a warm up for the earthquake the next day. HDSCS staffed three full days at the Orange County Fair Amateur Radio booth, allowing scouts to send simulated emergency messages from a simulated Hospital Command Center at a Scout-O-Rama. HDSCS has also been at the EMS Disaster Fair. It was a great opportunity to explain how the group functions in time of phone outages, and area wide disasters. HDSCS boasts 10 members that have now achieved the Certified Hospital Communicator. For more info, see the HDSCS Web site. -- April Moell, WA6OPS, ARES Emergency Coordinator, Hospital Disaster Support Communications System, Orange County, California <firstname.lastname@example.org>, <http://www.hdscs.org/> + Boise, Idaho Fire Response August 25 -- The South West Idaho ARES team activated the emergency net in response to a four-alarm fire in southeast Boise. The net ops were in place to pass information traffic compiled from eyewitness accounts, if needed, and local news reporting. Brian Adams, W7CVS, served as net control. Fifty homes were evacuated, with Red Cross on scene to provide assistance and support. The event was managed under the Incident Command System, with the Incident Commander installed at the Simplot soccer field complex. Lessons Learned: Adams said "this was an example of how quickly local resources can be overwhelmed. All of Boise Fire Department was called in and numerous Boise Police were on scene. Other Fire and Law Enforcement agencies were called in from as far away as Payette, Gem, and Elmore Counties to cover areas not covered by units working the SE Boise Fire. Adams concluded, "We need to be ready at any moment to respond as requested by our public safety partners. Having the Emergency Net active with Amateurs standing by was a useful resource for information for the local Amateur Radio community. Thanks to all who checked into the Net and were ready to respond. The time for training, coordination, and knowledge of how to respond and effectively support our served agencies is BEFORE an incident like this so that our team and capabilities are known and we can effectively serve our serviced agencies - which is why Southwest Idaho ARES exists." -- Chuck Robertson, KX7ID, <email@example.com>, <http://www.idahoares.org/> + Department of Homeland Security Interoperability Manual, New National Emergency Communications Plan From the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) Office of Emergency Communications (OEC)-- "The National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) is a collection of technical reference material for radio technicians responsible for radios that will be used in disaster response applications. The NIFOG includes information from the National Interoperability Frequency Guide (NIFG), the instructions for use of the NIFG, and other reference material; formatted as a pocket-sized guide for radio technicians to carry with them. If you are not familiar with interoperability and mutual aid communications, start with the "How to Use the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide" section. We encourage you to program as many of these interoperability channels in your radios as possible. Even if geographic restrictions on some channels preclude their use in your home area, you may have the opportunity to help in a distant state where the restrictions do not apply. Maximize your flexibility." For a copy of the manual, see: <http://www.npstc.org/documents/NIFOG%20v1.2%204-14-2008.pdf> -- Thanks, Mark Conklin, N7XYO, Assistant SEC, Oklahoma DHS has also recently released the National Emergency Communications Plan (NECP) to address gaps and determine solutions so that emergency response personnel at all levels of government and across all disciplines can communicate as needed, on demand, and as authorized. The NECP is the nation's first strategic plan to improve emergency response communications, and complements overarching homeland security and emergency communications legislation, strategies and initiatives. More on the National Emergency Communications Plan: <http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1217534334567.shtm> and <http://www.dhs.gov/xnews/releases/pr_1217529182375.shtm>. Thanks -- Les Rayburn, N1LF, Shelby County, Alabama EC + LETTERS: ARES Groups Should Publish Repeater Frequencies for Googling I was sent by my job down to Ft. Lauderdale [Florida] on the evening of August 18, as Fay was about to make landfall in Collier County. It was a bit of a wild ride down Alligator Alley, but I made it to Ft. Lauderdale well ahead of the worst of the storm. At the hotel, I attempted to find the local ARES repeater to check in to and monitor. Oddly enough, despite much Googling, I was unable to find out which repeater covered the area. I would suggest that all ARES/RACES/SKYWARN groups have a list of the repeaters that they use on-line somewhere so that not only their members have it handy, but travelers to the area can find it as well. -- Joe Tomasone, AB2M, Pinellas County (Florida) EC, and Assistant SEC, West Central Florida Section + Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ, New SEC for Ohio The DEC for District Five, Ohio, Jack Sovik, KB8WPZ, has become SEC, effective September 1, Section Manager Joe Phillips, K8QOE, has announced. Sovik succeeds Frank Piper, KI8GW, of Pickerington. SM Phillips said Sovik was selected after a process in which eight applicants applied and three were given personal interviews. "During his tenure as DEC, Jack demonstrated great people skills he also uses in his work for the Youngstown Vindicator newspaper. It was obvious in the interview that he was the strongest candidate to continue the job of enriching the talent in our ARES administration that SEC Piper had started." Piper said "Jack has been a great supporter of the ARES program in the Ohio Section, and was a key player in projects such as the state emergency plan OSERP revision, the Ohio Section EC guidelines, and the reorganization of the ARES Districts." In addition, "Jack's drive for professionalism in ARES, and his abilities to work with people will give him the advantage to push the Ohio Section ARES to a greater level. I am extremely proud of Jack and wish him well in his new role as SEC," Piper added. Sovik, 58, attended Youngstown State University, majoring in Advertising/Public Relations. He was first licensed as KB8WPZ in 1995, earning his Extra class in 2000. He has held various positions including District Emergency Coordinator for District 5, and Assistant Emergency Coordinator for Mahoning County, and has taken the ARRL EMCOMM classes 1-3 and FEMA classes IS 100; IS 200; IS 546; IS 700; and IS 800. He is currently Vice President of the Mahoning Valley Amateur Radio Association. + Coaxial Antenna for EmComm There are many antennas that may be purchased or constructed and carried in your emcomm kit. Small dipoles, J-Poles and many other antennas that can be rolled-up, placed in a zip-lock type bag and stowed in your kit. But what about the all but forgotten coaxial antenna? The coaxial antenna is basically a quarter-wave piece of 52 Ohm coax. (RG8X or RG174 are my cables of choice). Construction for a two meter coaxial antenna follows: 1. Remove 19 inches of the outer jacket from a four foot or long piece of coaxial cable. 2. Carefully remove about 18 inches of the exposed shield. The shield will be used as a sleeve. 3. Slide the shield (removed in the above step) up the coax from the far end to the point where the jacket begins and the one inch of shield remains. 4. Using a relatively low Wattage soldering iron, tin the top of the sleeve. 5. Carefully fold the one inch of shield over the top of the sleeve. 6. Using the low Wattage soldering iron, solder the shield the top of the sleeve. 7. Check all work. What you should see is eighteen inches of dielectric along with the center conductor and eighteen inches of sleeve with any length of coax after the sleeve. 8. Check for shorts and opens with an Ohm meter. 9. Add the coax connector of your choice to the end of the length of coax. 10. Check for shorts and opens again. 11. Carefully affix a loop of string or a plastic wire tie to the top of antenna using a good quality tape or heat shrink. The whole antenna can be covered with heat shrink. You may utilize the extra one inch of wire at the top by stripping of the dielectric from the top and soldering the wire into a loop. The extra one inch must be removed or utilized so as not to be part of the antenna. 12. The antenna can now be hanged from the support of your choice and when finished, it can be stowed very easily. Some additional thoughts: Coaxial antennas are quite useful above 30 meters. However, they become physically unwieldy below 30 meters. This type of antenna does have a lower angle of radiation than the popular J-Pole with the added bonus of some slight gain. If the numbers look familiar, that is because we are dealing with quarter-wavelength sections. The upper portion is a quarter-wavelength and the lower (sleeve) is a quarter-wavelength. - Jay Musikar, AF2C, District EC, East-Central District, Northern Florida Section + EmComm Briefs: * ARRL Emergency Communications Level 3 Online Course to be Revised: New enrollments in the online Level 3 course will be suspended effective October 1 to allow us to update the course curricula. We expect the updated course to be available in the first quarter of 2009. * New HF Digital Protocol to Debut at September Conference: WINMOR, an HF digital protocol designed for use with the Winlink 2000 network, will be unveiled at the upcoming ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference in Chicago September 26-28. * ARRL and Citizen Corps Assist Schools with NOAA Emergency Radios: ARRL and Citizen Corps are teaming up to offer assistance to local school districts in setting up and registering their NOAA Weather All Hazard Public Alert Radio. + October 4-5: Participate in SET The ARRL Simulated Emergency Test is a nationwide exercise in emergency communications, administered by ARRL Field Organization Leaders including Emergency Coordinators, District Emergency Coordinators, Section Emergency Coordinators and Net Managers. Many other Section Leaders like the Section Manager and the Section Traffic Manager may have a hand in planning the exercises and/or reviewing the results. Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), National Traffic System (NTS), Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and other public-service oriented groups can be involved. The SET weekend gives communicators the opportunity to focus on the emergency-communications capability within your community while interacting with NTS nets. Although the main SET weekend this year is October 4 -5, local and section-wide exercises may be held throughout the fall season. How to Join the SET: To participate in this year's emergency test, contact your local ARRL emergency coordinator or net manager to find out the details. ARRL Sections, ARES teams and nets may conduct their exercises anytime during September through December. If you don't know who to call, please touch base with your ARRL Section Manager for assistance. See page 16 of QST for contact information or check the ARRL Web page. The URL to start with is <http://www.arrl.org/sections/>. From there, you'll find links to ARRL section home pages with names and contact information for your Section Leaders including the Section Emergency Coordinator and Section Traffic Manager. Whether you're a new licensee or an experienced radio amateur, the SET is a golden opportunity to learn or practice useful skills in traffic handling, net operation and emergency communications protocols and management. Purpose of SET: --> To find out the strengths and weaknesses of ARES, NTS, RACES and other groups in providing emergency communications. --> To provide a public demonstration--to served agencies such as the American Red Cross, the emergency management agency and through the news media--of the value to the public that Amateur Radio provides, particularly in time of need. --> To help radio amateurs gain experience in communications using standard procedures and a variety of modes under simulated-emergency conditions. Format: The scoring format reflects broad objectives and encourages use of digital modes for handling high-volume traffic and point-to-point Welfare reports out of the affected simulated- disaster area. Participants will find SET an opportunity to strengthen the VHF-HF link at the local level, thereby ensuring that ARES and NTS are working in concert. The SET will give all levels of NTS the chance to handle exercise-related traffic. The guidelines also recognize tactical traffic on behalf of served agencies. Test messages should carry the word "TEST" before the precedence; that is, "Test Priority" on phone and "TEST P" on cw. The text of such messages should also begin with the words "TEST MESSAGE." Links to SET reporting forms and the EC Annual Report may be found at <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/>. You may e-mail your SET summaries to ARRL Headquarters via <firstname.lastname@example.org>. If you mail them to ARRL via the postal service, the address is: ARRL Headquarters, 225 Main Street, Newington, CT 06111-1494. January 30, 2009, is the receipt deadline. Preparation is Important: Steps for the Emergency Coordinator --> Sign up all available amateurs in the area under your jurisdiction and work them into your SET plans. --> Call a meeting of all ARES members and prospective members to briefly outline (no details!) SET activities, and give general instructions. Do not divulge the exact time or nature of the test to them at this time. This should come as a surprise. Take this opportunity to register new ARES members and get up-to-date information on others. Hold an on-the-air meeting if it's not possible to meet in person. --> Contact served agencies and explain the intent and overall purpose of the SET. Offer to send test messages to other branches of their agencies, and invite officials to your ARES meetings and SET operating sites. --> Contact officials of any adjacent communities having no active amateurs and offer to provide representation in amateur networks for them as well. --> Arrange publicity in consultation with an ARRL Public Information Officer in local newspapers and radio/TV stations by preparing an announcement and/or inviting the press to observe your group's SET operation. --> Set up liaison with one or more NTS local/section nets (if you don't already have liaison) so you will have an outlet for all messages out of the local area. --> Formulate your plans around a simulated disaster. Possible "plots" include: a flood, a serious fire, an ice storm, a missing person, a serious accident (automobile, bus, aircraft, for examples), a broken gas line, and so forth. --> Elaborate on the situation by developing a scenario, but please be realistic. During the SET: --> Announce the emergency situation. Activate the emergency net. Dispatch mobiles to served agencies. --> Have designated stations originate messages on behalf of served agencies. --> Test messages may be sent simulating requests for supplies. Simulated emergency messages (just like real emergency messages) should be signed by an authorized official. --> Emphasize tactical communications for served agencies. --> As warranted by traffic loads, have liaison stations on hand to receive traffic on the local net and relay to your section net. You should also be sure that there is a representative on each session of the section net to receive traffic going to the local area. --> Operate at least one session (or substantial segment of a session) of the local net on emergency-power only basis. Or, if a repeater is on emergency power, allow only emergency-powered stations to operate through the repeater for a certain time period. After the SET: An important post-SET activity is a critique session to discuss the test results. All ARES (and RACES) members should be invited to the meeting to review good points and weaknesses apparent in the drill. Emphasize ways to improve procedures, techniques, and coordination with all groups involved. Report your group's effort using the appropriate forms and include any photos, clippings and other items of interest. The Role of NTS: The main function of the National Traffic System in an emergency situation is to tie together all of the various local activities and to provide a means by which all traffic destined outside of a local area, section or region can be systematically relayed to the addressee. Normal NTS routing should be followed. A valid exception is the handling of emergency traffic that should be routed as rapidly and efficiently as possible, bypassing various levels of nets when delivery can be expedited. Another exception is when one station is loaded down with traffic for one region or section. At the discretion of the Net Control Station (NCS), the station may be directed to bypass a normal channel and go directly to a lower (or higher) echelon net. The interface between NTS and ARES lies in the liaison function between local nets and other NTS nets, particularly at the section level. Responsibility for representation of the local network on the section net lies with the local net manager who may or may not be the EC. Although we usually think of ARES members being the representatives in section nets, it is equally valid to expect NTS personnel to act as liaison to local nets. At least one net session or substantial segment of a session should be conducted on emergency power. Plan a surprise session or two. Advise the NCS just before net time. If NCS is unable to operate on emergency power, then someone else must be net control. Only stations operating on emergency power may report in during this time. Summary: One of the first steps on the way to a successful SET is to try to get as many people involved as possible, and especially new hams. In a real emergency, we find amateurs with all sorts of varied interests coming out of the woodwork. Let's get them involved in SET so they will know more about how emergency communications should be handled. Promote SET on nets and repeaters, and sign up new, enthusiastic radio amateurs. Many of those offering to help will be inexperienced in public-service activities. It's up to you to explain what's going on to them, and provide them with useful roles. They may like it so much that they become a permanent fixture in your ARES or NTS group. For a review of last year's nationwide Simulated Emergency Test, read the article in July, 2008, QST. Thanks to your efforts, the public service tradition in Amateur Radio continues! + K1CE For A Final For current information on ARES and other storm-related issues, always check the League's Web page: <http://www.arrl.org/>. It is updated on a daily basis. ________ Please send reports of your ARES activations and drills to <email@example.com> for consideration for publication in this newsletter. It will give your people some national-level exposure, and readers a chance to learn from your activity. ________ Finally, thanks to Jeff Sabatini, KI6BCX, of Redland Hills, California, for sending me a "California Emergency Kit," consisting of two packages of "Lieutenant Blender's Margarita In A Bag," a can of Spam, and a package of fine cigars! It proved to be a lifeline during the dark days of Tropical Storm Fay . . . See you next month! 73, Rick K1CE Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League. All rights resrved.