October 20, 2009Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
At the end of September, the ARRL adopted a statement of policy with respect to the use of Amateur Radio entitled the The Commercialization of Amateur Radio: The Rules, The Risks, The Issues. The document offers guidelines to assist radio amateurs and anyone wishing to use the capabilities of Amateur Radio in understanding the FCC Rules that prohibit communications in which the amateur has a pecuniary interest, including communications on behalf of an employer. From the document's introduction:
"From its founding in 1914 to the present day, the American Radio Relay League has fostered Amateur Radio public service and emergency communications activities. The League encourages organizations engaged in disaster relief to make appropriate use of Amateur Radio. Further, the League welcomes new, public-service minded licensees from all occupational and professional backgrounds. The ARRL believes that the Amateur Radio Service and our emergency communications activities flourish best in an atmosphere of respect for and compliance with the FCC's Rules. These Rules provide for more flexibility than is typical of other radio services. They guide our operations and assist us in protecting the spectrum allocated to the Amateur Radio Service from encroachment by commercial interests.
"This document is not intended to discourage anyone from becoming an Amateur or to discourage any organization from promoting an interest in Amateur Radio among its employees and volunteers. Nor does it signal any change in the League's long-standing devotion to public service and emergency communications. Its objective is to educate both Amateurs and the organizations we serve about what is permitted under the FCC's current Rules and to assist Amateurs in making reasoned decisions about the appropriateness of services we may offer to organizations in our communities."
This document is a must-read: Please click on the link above and spend some time going over it with your ARES group.
In This Issue:
Vermont ARES Supports JDRF Bike Tour
On August 29, ARES members of the Central Vermont Amateur Radio Club, Inc (CVARC) provided health and welfare communications for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) Bike Tour. The tour covered one hundred miles over difficult terrain on a cold rainy day. It was hard on the riders and VHF communications were difficult. Many of the riders either have diabetes, or have family members that suffer from it. However, the majority of the riders persevered, riding the entire 100 miles. The youngest operator (16) Chris Craig, K1MHZ, ran a professional net as alternate NCS.
The route took riders up the Rt. 100 valley from Killington to Waitsfield, and back, with the event organizers trying to use their ten Motorola Satellite phones (SAT's), local ambulance service radio systems, and cell phones of every variety and provider available. None were of any use for the majority of the route! The only consistently reliable communications for the entire route was provided by Amateur Radio. There was not one quarter mile that the Medical Supervisor was not able to communicate with the various rest stops and overall tour supervisor.
Over $1.3 M was raised by the tour for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (over $4,000 each participant, on average), the most raised for any of their numerous events throughout the country. There were no serious medical incidents. All of the most necessary information for the event was passed via Amateur Radio. Many thanks to all who helped make communications for the event a success. -- Tom Long, KB1NGQ, Waterbury Center, Vermont
Kentucky SARs Served by ARES
If most of your active ARES members wear several hats, it can stretch a small volunteer group thin when an emergency occurs. This is true of most ARES (and other) organizations. But it can also be an advantage. More agencies can learn about you, there is built-in cross-training, and opportunities can open up that would not otherwise be available.
About noon on Friday, September 4, an autistic younger teenage girl disappeared from school. She had disappeared once before and had been found hiding in the school. This time an internal search turned up nothing. About 1430 a full search of the Radcliff, Kentucky, area was begun by several fire departments, a local K-9 group, and others.
At 1700 the American Red Cross was asked to provide support for the large number of searchers. Four volunteers in two ARC vehicles and one private pickup truck left for the Radcliff Fire Station 1, which was being used as the command post for the search.
Among the ARES volunteers were Dave VanderMolen, AI4VF, and Shelby Ennis, W8WN. After the first round of food had been provided for the searchers, a call came in on the Elizabethtown repeater from an additional K-9 crew that was coming in from a neighboring county. It was learned that most of the arriving crew were radio amateurs and that they would not have any communications with the CP except via their Amateur walkie-talkies. At this point VanderMolen and Ennis decided to set up an Amateur station at the fire department/CP.
VanderMolen had a collapsible 10-foot pole, two-meter ground plane, mobile rig and AC power supply in his truck, so it was quickly set up outside the fire station. While it worked well, it soon became evident that it would be inadequate. The visiting K-9 crew, now out in the field, could not communicate back to their head person at the CP. And surprisingly, even with the good ground plane, VanderMolen and Ennis also could not communicate reliably with the searchers. (Two other ARES members were out as heads of two of the SAR groups, but their communications were adequate).
Meanwhile, Lora Ennis, WD8LPN, had requested that several other operators from the area go on standby as it appeared that the search would continue all night. John Mahanna, KC4CQT, who lived only a few blocks from the fire station, had a 60-foot tower and good equipment plus experience, so he was asked to take over the relaying. This worked well, as he could copy all of the searchers.
About 2200 it was decided that the search would have to continue all night, and arrangements were made by the many groups and agencies to keep searching. But about an hour later one of the dogs picked up a good trail, and the young lady was quickly located in good condition.
Everything was secured. The Hardin County Amateur Radio Emergency Communications group had been very helpful, thanks to having two ARES members on the scene with the American Red Cross and having KC4CQT living nearby.
But this wasn't the end of the story. Only 24 hours later another young teenage girl in another area of the county ran away from home. The fire department in charge of the search (a different department) realized that they did not have any portable equipment with which to maintain adequate communications from the command post, which was set up in one of the county schools, so they immediately called AI4VF for assistance. As VanderMolen drove to the area about 0130 Sunday morning he put out a call on the local repeater and raised Leon Priest, N4TFK, who immediately went on standby to see what would be needed.
VanderMolen discovered that two public safety frequencies needed to be monitored, but needed appropriated equipment. Priest, however, reported equipment available in the Severns Valley Association's Southern Baptist Disaster Response trailer. (VanderMolen, Priest, and Ennis are also members of the SBDR, as well as ARES and ARC). Priest and VanderMolen soon had two radios and two antennas in operation. Later that night the girl returned home, and the local SAR groups were happy to get some rest.
Since then two of the area fire departments have asked ARES to be put on their official emergency response lists. -- Shelby Ennis, W8WN/AAR4IJ, Hardin County, Kentucky EC; ARC DSHR 184654; http://www.qsl.net/w8wn/
EmComm Companion Bill Offered in Senate
On Tuesday, October 6, Senator Joe Lieberman (ID-CT), along with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), introduced Senate Bill 1755, The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009. Similar to HR 2160 -- also called The Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act of 2009 -- that was introduced this past April by Representative Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX-18), the bill, if passed, would direct the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to undertake a study on emergency communications. S 1755 points out that "There is a strong Federal interest in the effective performance of Amateur Radio Service stations, and that performance must be given -- (A) support at all levels of government; and (B) protection against unreasonable regulation and impediments to the provision of the valuable communications provided by such stations."
And The Training Kept A Rollin' . . .
A reminder to all ARES ops that they should have the following certifications as a minimum level of competency in ARES emcomm facets. These are pursuant to the recommendations of the former ARRL National Emergency Response Planning Committee.
â¦ ARRL's ARECC Level 1 -- click here for information and a syllabus.
On Resource Typing
Unfortunately, lack of commonality and standards can slow a response to a wide area disaster. Hurricane Katrina demonstrated that flaw. Hurricane Gustav verified the problem. Setting standards for response personnel and equipment from outside the affected area is crucial.
Not every position requires the same capabilities. Actually, the needs vary widely across the entire response. A motor home packed with multiple radios, operating positions, modes and antennas is overkill at a Red Cross shelter; and someone with just an HT is useless as net control for a big EOC in a region where infrastructure is down.
Typing of individuals and teams is essential to the mission and success of Amateur Radio emcomms. It must include equipment, physical capabilities and training. The NRCEV has made a good effort toward typing, although my feeling is that it needs more work. Possibly creating sub-types under the major groupings would be the answer. As yet, we are in the early stages of this initiative.
But it is the ARRL, as our leading organization for Amateur Radio, that must take the lead - and the sooner the better. -- Cliff Segar, KD4GT, Rockwood, Tennessee, "The Billboard Guy"
I was encouraged when I read the request for standards for Amateur Radio resource typing. I have been reading about the efforts to do this, especially from California hams, for several years. It's high time this was done seriously. I look forward to seeing your progress! -- Lee Mushel, K9WRU, Gays Hills, Wisconsin
GAREC 2009 Summary
Officials from the IARU and all three IARU regions, national IARU Member-Societies and specialized Amateur Radio emergency communications groups from around the globe gathered in Tokyo on August 24-25 for the Fifth Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference (GAREC 2009). Hosted by the Japan Amateur Radio League (JARL), GAREC was held in conjunction with Ham Fair. More than 30 participants considered the statements from past GAREC conferences -- GAREC 05 (Tampere, Finland), GAREC 06 (Tampere, Finland), GAREC 07 (Huntsville, Alabama, USA) and GAREC 08 (Friedrichshafen, Germany) -- discussing the progress made on the implementation of the recommendations, and looking at recent experiences from exercises and actual emergency operations.
While GAREC is not a decision-making body, delegates made note of the relationships between the Amateur Service and organizations that are engaged in public protection and disaster relief, in particular the formal agreements and understandings that exist between the IARU and the United Nations, the International Telecommunication Union (ITU), and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). They also looked at reports on recent emergency communications operations, specifically the earthquake disaster relief operations in Japan in 1995, China in 2008 and Italy in 2009, as well as the 2009 Australian bushfires. Delegates also took into account the reports on Global SETs, Center of Activity Frequencies, Automatic Link Establishment (ALE) and emergency communications across international borders.
GAREC delegates requested that the ITU "continue to support the activities of IARU in facilitating the role of the Amateur Radio Service in emergency communications by fully implementing the provisions of Radio Regulations (RR) Article 25 . . ." The part of Article 25 concerning Emergency Communications states: "Amateur stations may be used for transmitting international communications on behalf of third parties only in case of emergencies or disaster relief. An administration may determine the applicability of this provision to amateur stations under its jurisdiction" (RR 25.3), and "Administrations are encouraged to take the necessary steps to allow amateur stations to prepare for and meet communication needs in support of disaster relief" (RR 25.9A).
GAREC also wants the ITU to "continue to study the possibilities for the introduction of an International Amateur Radio License facilitating the work of Amateur Radio Service in international assistance and related training activities."
GAREC appealed to all of the IARU Member-Societies, as well as specialized emergency communications groups, to do the following:
--To establish close working relationships between the National IARU Member-Society and independent specialized Amateur Radio emergency communications groups in the respective countries, as well as to cooperate internationally.
--To request their national regulatory authorities implement the modifications to Article 25 of the Radio Regulations, particularly the regulations governing third-party traffic during emergencies and during training for emergency operations.
--To provide training in emergency communications to as many amateurs as possible in their respective countries, with particular emphasis on personal and logistical preparedness, psychological aspects of entering a disaster area, familiarity with the civil protection system in their country, communications techniques of particular value in emergencies and remembering that the skills developed in the amateur service can be of great benefit to disaster relief organizations in maintaining and operating their own telecommunications networks.
--Whenever emergency communications are being conducted on frequencies that propagate internationally, to use any available real-time communications channels, including but not limited to e-mail bulletins, Web sites, social networking and DX clusters to draw the attention of the largest possible number of Amateur Radio operators to ongoing emergency communications, in order to avoid interference with emergency traffic.
--To use their contacts with national regulatory authorities to encourage the accession to and implementation of the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations. To date, 37 countries have adopted Tampere.
--To support the work of the IARU on an international Emergency Communications Handbook and to provide copies of existing agreements with institutional partners in emergency response, as well as copies of emergency communication guidelines, manuals and checklists developed for national or local use as inputs to this work.
--To work toward the implementation of Memoranda of Understanding established between the IARU and ITU, IFRC, and the United Nations by seeking cooperation with the respective national institutions and organizations in their country.
--To continuously improve their awareness of the mission, vision and values of served agencies.
--To represent themselves as a human and technical resource able and willing to investigate the communication requirements of served agencies, offer recommendations when asked, and facilitate emergency communications when required.
GAREC called on the IARU to encourage its national IARU Member-Societies to "actively support the mission of Amateur Radio as an emergency communications resource." In the official GAREC Statement, delegates also stated that they would like to see the IARU support the following: The implementation of Article 25, the ongoing work toward an International Amateur Radio License, and the work and publication of the IARU Emergency Communications Handbook.
With respect to governments and telecommunication administrations, the conference would like these bodies to encourage joint training activities and exercises of Amateur Radio emergency communications groups and institutional providers of emergency response. Delegates recommend that GAREC conferences should continue to be held in locations throughout the world, maintaining the character of GAREC as an informal meeting among representatives of IARU Member-Societies and of Amateur Radio emergency communications groups, "serving as a forum for the exchange of experience and as an advisory body for the work on emergency communications of the IARU."
Three People Killed While Erecting Antenna
A man, woman and their 15 year old son were killed while trying to erect a 50 foot vertical antenna at the home of the man's mother, Barbara Tenn, KJ4KFF, in Palm Bay, Florida. The deceased were not licensed amateurs.
"It happened in an instant," Palm Bay Fire Marshal Mike Couture said in a statement. "It is an unfortunate set of circumstances that led to the most tragic result."
According to police reports, Melville Braham, 55, Anna Braham, 49, and their 15 year old son Anthony were putting up an antenna -- Tenn's second -- at night when they lost control of the antenna and it crashed into nearby overhead power lines. The impact sent 13,000 volts of electricity through the pole the three were holding. A family friend, a 17 year old boy, was on the roof at the time of the accident. He and the couple's daughter, who was in the house at the time, were not injured.
The mother was pronounced dead at the scene. When paramedics arrived, the father and son were not breathing; rescue crews immediately tried to resuscitate them. They were transported to a hospital where they later died.
Neighbor Jim Vallindingham told television station WFTV that he called 911 when he saw the fire in the back yard and then he ran over: "I had no idea it was electrical until we got over there and saw the three people laying on the ground. So I called 911 a second time to tell them there were casualties. You know, there were people on the ground. So [the 911 operator] told me that's electric, you back away don't touch anything."
Couture said that night was not the best time to be attempting to put up an antenna. "It wasn't the best time, meaning it was night time. Obviously, in darkness, and trying to do something like this and not being keenly aware of where the power line is in the backyard, [was not a good idea]," he said.
Rescue Support at Utah Marathon
Utah's St George Marathon draws more than 7000 runners to the town of St George -- located 300 miles south of Salt Lake City, near the Utah-Arizona-Nevada border -- each year. The race, now in its 33rd year, uses shuttle vans equipped with Amateur Radio operators and medical personnel to provide any help and support needed along its course. On October 3 -- race day -- Brian Plumb, KE7HNW, was driving Shuttle #3, with Kathy Hutchinson, a cardiac nurse at a local hospital, by his side.
"We started driving up and down the highway," Plumb said, "stopping to help anyone in need. Kathy and I had just dropped off a van load of runners at the transition area at mile marker 24, turned around and were getting ready to go up the highway again when everything happened -- a lady ran up to us and said there was a runner who had collapsed just up the road and he needed our help."
"As we approached the runner, we saw that he was down," Plumb recounted. "Kathy grabbed the oxygen and I grabbed the AED machine. When we got there, the runner wasn't doing well. With the help of another runner (who happened to be a fire fighter), Kathy gave him oxygen and we started doing CPR. The police were on the scene and they called 911 for an ambulance."
Plumb told the ARRL that the 48 year old man "had no pulse. He was gone. So I got the AED set up and I 'shocked' him and his heart began beating again. He was then transported to the hospital via ambulance. The EMTs told us that if we had not been there when we were there and with an AED, he would have been gone, he was so out of it totally and could not have been revived."
Later, Plumb learned from Hutchinson -- the runner had been taken to her hospital -- that the man and his family wanted to meet him. "I went there on the Monday after the race," he told the ARRL, "and said 'Hi, I'm Brian.' I didn't give my last name or call sign or anything like that, and they all asked, 'Are you the radio ham guy?' They knew that Amateur Radio had helped save their family member." Plumb said that the man is out of the hospital and seems to be doing fine. -- ARRL Letter
K1CE For a Final
Bit by bit, I have been putting my "personal EOC" back on the air following a lightning hit in June that took out my entire station and computer systems. It gave me the opportunity to reassess and rebuild my station accordingly. A major improvement, in my opinion anyway, was to place my equipment in a rack mount/stand on wheels. See photo. I believe that rack mounting your equipment not only provides an aesthetically appealing presentation, but adds more utility as well. The rack stand rolls around on the floor, and can be moved to the side of my chair as I type on the computer keyboard.
You may think that to rack mount your equipment is expensive. Think again. I used two sources for my project: NovexComm, which makes highly-professional, low-cost rack mounts for many Amateur Radio rigs, and, believe it or not, Musician's Friend, where I found a mixer stand that was perfect for my needs. The stand is surprisingly inexpensive, but
rugged enough for my in-home application. Here is the specific link to what I bought: Musician's Gear Rolling Rack Stand. As you think about rack mounting, look again at the photo: Nice looking, isn't it?! Give it a try. Perhaps this Thanksgiving, your XYL won't have the door to your ham shack closed and locked as she tours guests around the house!
My station, by the way, consists of an ICOM IC-756 PROIII HF radio, and a ICOM IC-2200H 2-meter FM radio, both powered by a husky ASTRON RM-35M power supply. Simple, but effective! The antenna is (or soon will be) an Alpha Delta DX-CC multiband wire antenna that is built to withstand the often severe weather here in Northern Florida.