ARES E-Letter for November 26, 2008
The ARES E-Letter November 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 Flagler ARES now has four active VHF repeaters located at strategic points throughout the county. Last month, one of the repeaters took a direct hit during an electrical storm. The antenna was blown to pieces. The PolyPhaser in the coaxial line did its job and protected the repeater system from more damage. One of our team members donated the funds to replace the destroyed GAM antenna, and the new system is functioning better than ever. Flagler ARES officials are re-writing MOUs so that more local government agencies can be served more reliably. Flagler Emergency Management is now providing NIMS training at the EOC for our team. At the moment, only IS-100 and 700 are required of team members working in or from the EOC. The future of the training requirement is, according to officials, in a state of flux. Flagler ARES is not only part of ESF#2, but is also under the broad roof of ESF#15. However, it is understood that the prime function of ARES here is emcomm. Our ARES team and the Flagler Emergency Service Volunteers (FESV) will be holding a joint holiday party in December. The two groups work well together during emergencies, as does ARES and the Flagler County REACT. All ARES groups should seek out and work closely with their local REACT groups. REACT is a fine organization, with a long history of superb public service in the emcomm arena. ARES and REACT together form a synergistic bond, with the public as beneficiary. ________ Perhaps the final shot across the bow of the U.S. for the soon-to-expire tropical weather season was Hurricane Paloma, a Cat 4 storm that threatened the Cayman Islands and Cuba earlier this month. The usual suspects were involved: The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN), the VoIP Hurricane Net (VOIPWX) and WX4NHC -- the Amateur Radio station at the National Hurricane Center (NHC), were all active and standing by to take and relay reports from the affected areas. A long time Cuban friend and colleague of mine in IARU Region 2 emergency affairs, Arnie Coro, CO2KK, was active, as usual, with Cuban emergency nets on 40 meters. He relayed reports of widespread communication outages: at least one communications tower was blown down in Santa Cruz Del Sur. In the province of Camaguey, sustained winds of 95 MPH and gusts to 155 MPH were recorded. Another long time friend and colleague on the hurricane/emcomm circuit is Assistant WX4NHC Coordinator Julio Ripoll, WD4R, who said "Arnie's reports were used in official advisory statements issued by the NHC." Reporting on the Caymans, VoIP Hurricane Net Director of Operations Rob Macedo, KD1CY, said "there was significant damage, particularly over Little Cayman and Cayman Brac. We received a relayed unofficial report of a 155 MPH wind gust on Cayman Brac. Roofs were blown off homes and significant damage was reported at resort locations on Cayman Brac." This was personal for me, with a special love for the Caymans and their friendly people, nurtured by two Dxpeditions there (ZF2CE). Ripoll said that the NHC used many of the reports received from the Nets in the official advisory statements issued by NHC forecasters. A complete list of reports received from various sources can be seen on the VoIP Hurricane Net Report Viewer <http://report.voipwx.net/qilan/nhcwx/list_VOIP_records?auth=OK>. ______ Here is some good advice I just received: "Hi Rick, in your 'View from Flagler County' in the last issue, you said that Florida residents are Number One in the nation for lightning strikes. We, the citizens of the Republic of Texas, have discovered that it is much safer inside and out of the rain than standing in the rain, especially during a thunderstorm. Try it, it works. Hi. Keep up the good work." -- Mike Deming, K6GTY, Livingston, Texas <firstname.lastname@example.org> _______ In This Issue: + California Fires + Alabama County Hams Respond to Successful SAR + Applying Field Day Lessons to ARES Ops + 2008 SET Soapbox: Adding Exercise to an Exercise + Global Emergency Network Marks Record + Southern New England SKYWARN Group Cited + ARRL to Offer Self-Study Course on Digital Technology for EmComm + LETTERS: PowerPole Connector Configs for Different Supply Voltages + Indiana National Guard Seeks Amateurs + LETTERS: Hospital EMCOMM in Florida - Compliance Monitoring by AHCA + Who Can Use the Name ARES(r)? + LETTERS: HDTV Transmissions in the Field, Comments + LETTERS: The Need to Build Strong Relationships + LETTERS: Coaxial Antenna Versus J-Pole + QST Author/ARES Op Presented Cover Plaque Award + LETTERS: Repeater Info Should Be Readily Available + K1CE For a Final ________ + Southern California Fires [ARES reports are spotty at this point, but a few have been received so far. More will be published as they are forthcoming - ed.] The Hospital Disaster Support Communications System (HDSCS) <http://www.hdscs.org/>, a specialty ARES group of Orange County near Los Angeles, aided hospitals during wildfire-related evacuations. Shortly before noon on Saturday, November 15, a wildfire broke out northeast of Brea-Olinda High School, possibly sparked by embers from the Freeway Complex Fire that had been burning near the 91 Freeway at Green River since 9 AM that day. A threat to Kindred Brea Hospital caused HDSCS to be activated and members checked in. At 2:45 PM, as the HDSCS operators were in place and in communication with the HDSCS net from Kindred Brea, a page was received from St. Jude hospital and a call came in from Placentia Linda hospital requesting Amateur Radio operators. St. Jude was receiving heavy smoke and had gone on diversion status. Placentia-Linda had been advised that it might receive chronic pulmonary patients from skilled nursing facilities. HDSCS members were immediately sent from the net to these facilities. A member also went to the Orange County Emergency Medical Services Agency's Operations Center. At 3:15 PM, a decision was made to close and evacuate Kindred Brea Hospital, moving 36 patients by ambulance to four other Kindred hospitals in Orange and Los Angeles Counties. Ten of these patients were on ventilators. HDSCS operators assisted with communications during the evacuation and the HDSCS net kept officials at Emergency Medical Services Agency informed of the situation. All patients were under way by 6 PM. Amateur Radio communications continued at Placentia Linda Hospital until 6:20 PM and at St. Jude Hospital throughout the night until 2 PM the next day. ARESLAX and Sylmar Fire, November 15, 2008 -- At 2:58 AM ARESLAX <http://www.ARESLAX.org/> received a call from the county requesting ARESLAX emergency support at Olive View Hospital. The hospital experienced a power and telephone outage and it was reported that a patient evacuation was imminent. Marty Woll, N6VI, and Tom Turner, KI6CCW, were immediately dispatched. Olester Santos, KI6RWR, Jim Curio, KI6FGV, Wyatt Underwood, K6LZL, and Los Angeles Section Emergency Coordinator Dennis Smith, KA6GSE <email@example.com>, provided net and operational support. At this time, the media was reporting that the city's power system sustained damage. The public was being requested to reduce power usage in order to avoid power outages. Planned rolling power outages were possibly to occur. ARESLAX planned on an immediate hospital deployment. Emergency Coordinators were requested to monitor their hospitals' status and the general area's Amateur Radio need. No ARES member was to deploy without authorization and proper instructions. ARESLAX provided emergency net services, operated over the DARN repeater system. The net exchanged fire observations with communications and power outage reports in and around Los Angeles County. Information was used to activate ARES and any other participating emergency Amateur Radio groups. For more information about ARESLAX and its net frequencies: <http://www.ARESLAX.org/> (Source: David Greenhut, N6HD, DEC ARESLAX NorthWest) [As more after-action debriefings are held, and reports become available, we will provide additional coverage in next month's issue. -- ed.] + Alabama County Hams Respond to Successful SAR At 8 AM Saturday morning, November 1, an 85-member team initiated a search for a missing Auburn University student in a heavily wooded area of southwest Lee County, Alabama. Participating organizations included the Auburn PD, Lee County Sheriff's Office, EMS, Red Cross, Civil Air Patrol, Lee County EMA, Alabama State Troopers, Lee County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and the East Alabama Amateur Radio Club. The missing student had spent three days and nights in the woods before he was successfully found in good health at 10:15 AM. Chris Tate, WX4CAP, lead the on-site Lee County EMA response while Mary Moore, WX4MM, was the duty officer at the EOC. Team leader Mike Watkins, WX4AL, lead an outstanding, well-coordinated 20 member Lee County CERT search effort including Amateur Radio operators Debra Ward, KI4YZY, and Justin Webster, KI4HKZ, while Tom Moore, WX4TM, coordinated on-site communications. Marty Nelson, KI4NHW, led the Lee County Red Cross response. Thanks to Curtis Jennings, KI4FUS for arranging for a troop of Boy Scouts to assist had the search been prolonged. -- Tom Moore, WX4TM, Valley, Alabama + Applying Field Day Lessons to ARES Ops During Field Day 2008 site visits in Western Washington, I picked up a few tidbits of useful information that applies to ARES operations as we head into the winter storm season. In Pacific County, the need for back-up emergency communications became apparent not only from the three-day, hurricane-force wind storm, but from distant illegal drug users. In their quest to steal copper to sell and fuel their drug addiction, drug users cut out the major phone cable that provided service--including calls to 911--to the Pacific County area. What the wind will do in winter, the drug users can do in pristine weather. The Aberdeen, Washington hams warned me about the need to secure emergency equipment. The same three-day storm forced many residents -- and hams -- to use generators for a week or more. Unfortunately, nearly 12 residents on one street had their generators stolen. An enterprising group of thieves located the generators from the noise and then swooped in during the day when residents were gone. The lesson: Emergencies bring out the good and the bad, so be prepared and lock down your emergency equipment. The value of local media in smaller towns should not be overlooked. By sending out Field Day announcements well in advance and working with the local media, the Stanwood, Washington group had visits from individuals, officials, and groups of children. Each child who made their first contact on the radio received a certificate of first contact to take with them. Communication and recognition go far in keeping our ARES teams well populated and these are two important factors to keep in mind when preparing for the storm season. -- Bruce Miller, KC7IAY, Public Information Coordinator, Western Washington Section + 2008 SET Soapbox: Adding Exercise to an Exercise Here's an idea from Jim Fey, KO6UW, that should become part of ARES/SET lore. (Fey leads the Manteca, California ACS group, and is an AEC with San Joaquin Valley, California ARES). His great idea: Have SET mobile operators report all emergency vehicles they see--police, fire, EMS, etc.--back to net control. That simple activity turned what would have been a boring SET exercise this year into a good training event. And it impressed our served agency. This happened last week. Several agencies were holding a flood evacuation exercise and hams--for the first time in several years--were invited to participate. Fourteen hams were involved. In a real flood, the hams would be the eyes of the EOC. We'd be driving around reporting on flooding, evacuation traffic, and generally looking for problems the EOC needed to know about. For the drill, Fey sent our mobile hams to assigned locations. While this proves we can drive our cars and find intersections (given a small map), it doesn't do much more. So, to make things interesting, Fey asked the mobiles to report to Net Control every time a police, fire, or EMS vehicle passed their location. With the drill going on, he knew the vehicles would be driving around. As soon as the mobiles got to their posts, the reports started coming in. Not just emergency vehicles, but our operators were reporting school buses, city trucks, police motorcycles, and anything else official-looking that happened to pass by. Sometimes the reports would track the vehicles from one of our posts to the next. One of the posts was near the corporation yard, where city vehicles are kept, and another near the bus barn for the public school system. This created nearly constant traffic on the net, with a reasonable amount of doubling and other minor problems. These were quickly handled with a little on- air education for the operators, who responded perfectly. Net Control (me) came down with writer's cramp from logging all the reports. Good experience all around. As we always warn our operators, ham radio can be (and is) widely listened-to. And such was the case at the EOC, where members of served agencies got to hear our traffic and were impressed by how professionally our "amateurs" worked together. By adding a ton of traffic to an otherwise pretty boring drill, KO6UW made certain our operators would have a good learning experience. And our served agencies heard an example of how ham radio can "do the job" when called upon. And that's about as good an exercise as you can have. (This drill was used as our 2008 Simulated Emergency Test). -- David Coursey, N5FDL [Coursey is EC for ARES of San Joaquin County, California. He is also ACS/RACES officer for the City of Tracy, CA, and manages an Amateur Radio program for the San Joaquin County Emergency Medical Services Agency.] + Global Emergency Network Marks Record The Global ALE High Frequency Network (HFN), an international Amateur Radio Service organization of ham operators dedicated to emergency/relief radio communications, has become the first network to operate continuously for more than 500 days on all international Amateur Radio short wave bands simultaneously. According to HFN International ALE Coordinator Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, the main purpose of the Network is to provide efficient emergency and disaster relief communications to remote areas of the world. "Beginning with a core group of six North American radio operators in June 2007, HFN rapidly expanded to cover large areas of the planet with 24/7 digital communications," she said. "HFN was designed to be an open framework for global Amateur Radio emergency services to interoperate on HF using the Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) system." Relying on ionospheric radio communications, interconnected HFN base stations scan the radio bands every 10 seconds, from 3.5 MHz-28.0 MHz. Through this Net, Crystal said, ham operators stay connected with each other at all hours of the day or night in any mode of operation, and can send Internet e-mail or cell phone mobile text messages from the field." - ARRL Web site <http://www.arrl.org/> + Southern New England SKYWARN Group Cited At a Saturday, November 15, Amateur Radio SKYWARN Coordinators Meeting at the National Weather Service (NWS) office in Taunton, Massachusetts, the coordinating team was presented with an award from NWS Taunton Forecasters citing excellence in service to the NWS Taunton office and service to the people of Southern New England. The glass trophy was presented to Rob Macedo, KD1CY, ARES SKYWARN Coordinator for NWS Taunton and Eastern Massachusetts ARES Section Emergency Coordinator and the two dozen SKYWARN Coordinators representing portions of the four New England states the NWS Taunton office covers. "Today was a special meeting," remarked Macedo, "I wasn't expecting the trophy that's sitting on top of the power supply here at the station. I was surprised. Very well done, I must say. It is a tribute to the team effort exhibited by Amateur Radio operators and SKYWARN Spotters across the four state region." The award meant even more to the Amateur Radio team since it was funded not by NOAA, but rather by the forecasters at the station who paid for it out of their own pockets. The award reads: "Presented to NWS-TAUNTON AMATEUR RADIO TEAM / WX1BOX With Sincere Appreciation for your Long-standing Commitment to the National Weather Service and the People of Southern New England and with Particular Recognition for your Tireless Support during the Unusual 2008 Severe Weather Season." The 2008 summer Severe Weather Season in Southern New England featured 974 reports that appeared in Local Storm Report products with 917 of those reports coming from the Amateur Radio SKYWARN Spotter Network representing 94% of all reports received in those products. There were two stretches in June and July where SKYWARN was activated in some portion of the NWS Taunton coverage area for seven days straight and in August from the period of August 3 through August 18, SKYWARN was activated 14 out of 18 days with 50 total SKYWARN Activations recorded over the summer of 2008. "It is the most active year in the 13 years I've been involved in the SKYWARN program. We hope next year will be calmer in terms of severe weather." Macedo said. On the same evening as the SKYWARN Meeting, a Tornado Watch was posted for much of Southern New England until 2 AM. While the watch was later cancelled, strong winds out ahead of a cold front resulted in pockets of tree and power line damage across Connecticut, Rhode Island and Massachusetts with some minor structural damage also reported as wind gusts of 50-70 MPH occurred with a wind gust of 67 MPH recorded at the Blue Hill Observatory in Milton, Massachusetts. "Somehow, given such an active year in 2008 for severe weather, it is no surprise that we had a wind damage event on the evening of our coordinators meeting. We hope this is the end of the active stretch," Macedo quipped. + ARRL to Offer Self-Study Course on Digital Technology for Emergency Communications With digital technology becoming an integral part of Amateur Radio, hams interested in Emergency Communications now have a new tool to help them take advantage of emerging modes such as Packet Radio APRS, Winlink 2000, IRLP, EchoLink and WIRES-II, D-STAR, APCO25, HF sound card modes and Automatic Link Establishment (ALE). The ARRL Digital Technology for Emergency Communications Course will introduce hams to all of the ways Amateur Radio operators are using digital technology as a valuable emergency communications tool. + LETTERS: PowerPole Connector Configs for Different Supply Voltages Several readers wrote in about my Hands-On Radio experiment concerning Go-Kits. (Experiment #70, "Three-Terminal Regulators", <http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/HTML/Hands-On-Radio/>). Their suggestion is to stack the 6V PowerPole connector pair one "above" the other, so that the longer side of the connector bodies are together. The 12V PowerPole connector pair can remain in the more common side-by-side configuration shown in the article. With the two different configurations, different voltage systems cannot be connected together. I've done this in my own go-kit and urge others to do the same. The impetus for this protocol came from Al Wolfe, K9SI, Sidney, Illinois, who wrote: "As the National Electrical Code recognized years ago, it should be impossible to plug something into the wrong voltage or current receptacle. Therefore, they set up the many standards for different kinds of plugs and receptacles for power distribution. A simple solution to the instant dilemma would be to lock the Powerpole terminals together vertically for the lower voltage instead of the more common horizontal method; i.e., with the flat contacts in parallel instead of in the same plane. This should reduce the possibility of plugging in the 6 volt devices into the 12 volt supply by mistake." This is also noted on the HOR Web page for experiment #70. - H. Ward Silver, N0AX, Vashon Island Assistant EC, Western Washington; QST Columnist, Hands-On Radio + Indiana National Guard Seeks Amateurs The Indiana Guard Reserve (IGR) is soliciting Amateur Radio operators throughout the State of Indiana to become part of its Communications Branch. The IGR is activated by the Adjutant General of Indiana when there is a major incident or exercise that requires the services of the 190 disaster responders that make up the IGR. One of the functions the IGR needs to improve is ESF #2 Communications. -- LTC Spencer Gibbs, N9DVL, USA ret., Indiana Guard Reserve Communications/Electronics Officer, Master Military Emergency Management Specialist <firstname.lastname@example.org> + LETTERS: Hospital EMCOMM in Florida - Compliance Monitoring by AHCA Regarding the most recent ARES E-Letter item on hospital emcomms, our local hospital communications contact sent us information from Florida's Agency for Health Care Administration (AHCA), a compliance-monitoring agency looking for documentation of agreements with Amateur Radio groups and hospitals. <http://www.fdhc.state.fl.us/MCHQ/Plans/pdfs/physical_plant_improvements.pdf> The protocol is: "X. RECOMMENDED EXTERNAL EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS STANDARDS a. Each facility should provide for external electronic communication not dependent on terrestrial telephone lines, cellular, radio or microwave towers such as on-site radio transmitter, satellite communication systems or a written agreement with an amateur radio operator volunteer group(s). This agreement should provide for a volunteer operator and communication equipment to be re-located into the facility in the event of a disaster until communications are restored." -- Jeff Capehart, W4UFL, Gainesville, Florida <email@example.com> + Who Can Use the Name ARES(r)? ARES(r) is a registered trademark of the ARRL. As such it can only be used by groups that are officially affiliated with the ARRL. There is a PDF with the details at <http://www.arrl.org/FandES/field/forms/ARES-Registered-Trademark.pdf> --Dan Henderson, N1ND, Regulatory Information Manager, ARRL + LETTERS: HDTV Transmissions in the Field, Comments [Last month's item on the impending TV Digital conversion and the need for emcomm ops to monitor TV transmissions in the field brought a panoply of responses. Here is a sampling. - ed.] I was a TV broadcast engineer in the analog days, and I recently put together a slide show on DTV (of which HDTV is a subset), and in doing so I had to learn new things. You are correct: There will be no more analog broadcasts, either video or audio, after February 17, 2009, with the minor exception of translators and low power TV stations. Cable TV is permitted to continue delivering analog. Let me list several options to receive broadcast digital TV in the field: 1. A DTV converter in front of any conventional analog TV tuned to channel 3 or 4 is the first option. I bought two RCA DTA800B1 digital converters for $20 each over the $40 government coupon. (Each household can get two coupons.) Converter and remote control weigh 1 lb. Sensitivity is adequate. With a converter you'll get more channels than before because three or more video/audio streams are put on each ATSC channel (in the same 6 MHz width and in some of the same bands as the old NTSC system). With a converter you get optional caption decoding and display, and you get composite video and stereo audio outputs and RF output. This converter plugs into 120V, but I would be surprised if it could not be modified to work off 12 volts. The RF could be split to feed several NTSC receivers if desired. 2. With your converter, use an LCD monitor/receiver that will work from 12 volts via its in-line switching power supply. I use a 15" AOC LV15X221 computer monitor/cable-ready NTSC TV receiver (~$150 from CompUSA). It's probably obsolete, but see <http://www.aoc.com/> for ATSC (digital) receiver/monitors. 3. The little grocery-store 5-inch B/W receiver can be used with the converter, but with lots of intercarrier buzz. 4. Consider the cheapest digital TV that has a digital tuner but displays NTSC.(Consider it a digital converter and an NTSC receiver in the same box.) Here's a 7-inch LCD 12-V portable for $112: <http://www.amazon.com/Haier-HLT71-7-Inch-Portable-CD/dp/B001E78UQY/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&s=electronics&qid=1224966207&sr=1-13> Finally, if you have an NTSC tuner in your computer or on USB, use a converter with it. Consider a *digital* USB tuner, using a laptop as a monitor. Search Amazon for "USB digital tuner." You'll want to look into the sensitivity of USB tuners. An informative DTV Web site is <http://www.hdtvinfoport.com/> -- Travis Hardin, KE3Y, Huntsville, Alabama This is the HDTV box I use for portable and mobile apps: A 5" LCD monitor for the video with the audio piped into my Jeep's broadcast radio. I picked this box specifically since it has a direct 12 vdc power input. I've never seen another model with this. The antenna is a homebrew Yagi. For the mobile, I plan to add a larger flip down monitor. It's eligible for the coupons too. <http://www.artectv.com/ehtm/products/t3apro.htm> -- Ronny Julian, K4RJJ, Dallas, Georgia Ward Silver's (N0AX) letter regarding clear audio for HDTV struck a chord with me on one of my projects. A group of ARES/MARS ops in Delaware are helping me construct a new Mobile Communications Unit. We have a Silicon Dust HDTV tuner (the "HDHomeRun"), which converts the off-the-air HDTV signals (up to 2 simultaneously) into packets on the Local Area Network and allows the use of a wide variety of PC software (Windows, MAC and Linux) to view/listen to the commercial station. We also have a low-cost 4-channel DVR (designed for security cameras), which allow LAN-attached PCs to view real-time and archived Amateur TV and DirecTV programming. All of this equipment is quite inexpensive. All of this is available to our served agencies via the mobile unit's wired and wireless networks. More on the project at: <http://www.armymars.net/ArmyMARS/MCU/index.html>. - John Scoggin, Jr., W3JKS/AAT3BF/AAM3EDE/AAA9SL, US Army MARS, Delaware Gateway Station AAB3DE, Special Consultant - Technology; Emergency Operations Officer - Delaware <firstname.lastname@example.org> + LETTERS: The Need to Build Strong Relationships A great article was published in American City & Country, about the need to build strong relationships within the emergency management community. It's filled with anecdotes and makes for compelling reading. <http://americancityandcounty.com/pubsafe/communications/wakeup_call/> During our recent experience here with Hurricane Gustav, I was shocked to find that some of our county EC's didn't even know the names of the leaders at their served agencies. As I've pointed out to many of them since, trying to forge those relationships and bonds of trust during an emergency is the worst possible time. During the hotwash for this event, I had one local EC give me a blank stare when I asked if he had ever met the Red Cross representative. He didn't know what either organization was, and had never attended a meeting. If you're currently serving as an EC and you don't have a good working relationship with your local EMA Director, Red Cross Director, police and fire chiefs, etc. make it a point to cultivate those now. If your county has a Local Emergency Preparedness Committee (LEPC) try to attend the meetings, or consider appointing an Assistant EC who can represent Amateur Radio at those functions. If your community has an active chapter of VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) you should try to obtain membership for your ARES/RACES group. It's important to understand that Amateur Radio is one piece of the emergency management puzzle, and for us to serve our role we must be aware of what the big picture looks like. Make it a top priority over the next few months to build those relationships. -- Les Rayburn, N1LF, Alabama Section Emergency Coordinator, NCS-SHARES NCS-047 + LETTERS: Coaxial Antenna Versus J-Pole In re my item in the last issue on coaxial antennas and readers' responses, there was the original statement that the coaxial antenna has "some gain," but this was not to mean that it has some gain over a dipole. The Coaxial Antenna is a variant of a half-wave dipole. A J-Pole is a fine antenna. However, the J-Pole has the following disadvantages: 1. Construction is not as straight forward as the Coaxial. 2. The copper version of the J-Pole does not deploy as easily as the coaxial antenna described. 3. With no real models for comparison, it is difficult to compare patterns for each antenna. I would suspect that the J-Pole would not have an omni-directional pattern and would therefore produce a lobe or lobes giving gain in some directions. The purpose of my article was to introduce or reintroduce the Coaxial antenna to those who have never used or seen one--especially as a great addition to an emcomm operator's "Jump Kit." 1. Coaxial antennas have a gain of about 2dBi (about the same as a Center-fed dipole). 2. Coaxial antennas may be fed with 52 Ohm coaxial cable without cumbersome tuning. 3. Coaxial antennas require little if any horizontal displacement. (It's very compact). 4. Coaxial antennas have a low angle of radiation. 5. The lower sleeve or shield helps prevent the induction of current in the outer conductor of the coaxial cable caused by energy radiated by the antenna. No further matching is required as is required with the typical J-Pole. - Jay Musikar, AF2C, DEC East Central District, Northern Florida ARES + QST Author/ARES Op Presented Cover Plaque Award At the November meeting of the ARES unit in Cupertino, California, ARRL Pacific Division Director Bob Vallio, W6RGG, presented Jim Oberhofer, KN6PE, of Cupertino, with the QST Cover Plaque Award. Oberhofer's article, "Outpost: Packet Radio for Emergency Messaging," was published in the April 2008 issue of QST. The winner of the QST Cover Plaque award -- given to the author or authors of the best article in each issue -- is determined by a vote of ARRL members on the QST Cover Plaque Poll Web page. + LETTERS: Repeater Info Should Be Readily Available The letter "ARES Groups Should Publish Repeater Frequencies for Googling" in the September issue reminds me of how hard it can sometimes be to get up on the air in disaster conditions: it's not just the disaster but also the lack of information (sometimes the result of the disaster). Yes, we should be able to find repeater information on Google. But we should also be able to find the PL tones. (And sometimes we won't be able to connect to Google or anything else wired). The repeaters we can hear should be telling us their PL tones every time they identify. Better yet, unless there is an actual repeater interference problem, the PL tone system should be turned off in a disaster response. That PL tone may well be known to the locals (actually, probably not anymore since it's been put in the rig memory). The PL tone will not be known to anyone else such as travelers with emergency traffic, visitors, etc. Especially in extremis, we should be doing what we can to facilitate communication, not prevent it. -- Bart Lee, KV6LEE, ARRL Government Liaison and Volunteer Counsel, former LO San Francisco ACS, former EC ARES San Francisco, and Deputy Communications Lead, New York Red Cross How about the list at <http://www.artscipub.com/)>? I find this list to be fairly accurate. -- Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, City of Altus, Oklahoma For several years now, I've maintained a list of primary Emergency Frequencies in use in each West Central Florida County <http://www.saracs.org/docs/frequencylist.pdf> These frequencies and alpha-numerics can then be pre-programmed into radios and when folks are deployed to other counties, they simply need to dial in the correct "channel" listed on the Communications Plan, and they'll be ready to go with no programming needed in the field. -- Ron Wetjen, WD4AHZ, EC Sarasota County, West Central Florida, Sarasota County Auxiliary Communications Service <http://www.saracs.org/> + K1CE For a Final Web site of the Month: <http://n5fdl.com/davids-blog/> It is superb! Thought of the Month: "To every man there comes in his lifetime that special moment when he is tapped on the shoulder and offered the chance to do a very special thing. What a tragedy if that moment finds him unprepared and unqualified for the work which should be his finest hour." -- Winston Spencer Churchill (Tnx to N9DVL). Happy Tnxgiving to all! 73, Rick K1CE Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved.