- Section Name:
- West Texas
- Bill Roberts, W5NPR
- Daytime Phone:
- Evening Phone:
- West Gulf
West Texas Section News
September 30, 2014
News From Around West Texas
What a month September has been for me rainfall-wise seven miles west of
Alpine! I received 6.55 inches for the month, 11.56 since August 1st and my total
for the year is 15.10. Early summer was so dry it promised to be one of the drier
years, but once it started, it has really been good. West Texas has been blessed
---HR4969 - The Amateur Radio Parity Act of 2014 Update---
The following was received from Kay Craigie N3KN, ARRL President:
I would like to bring you up to date on H.R. 4969, but first I want to thank you for
your help and that of the members in your Sections. If you will be doing
newsletters or other communications with your members in the next few weeks,
please let them know that their efforts are important and appreciated. The official
list of cosponsors can be found, sorted alphabetically, at
Congress had very few days in session in September, but we added 30 co-
sponsors to the official list during that time. ARRL Directors Mike Lisenco,
N2YBB, and Dick Isely, W9GIG, went to Washington in September to visit
Congressional offices, as did President Kay Craigie, N3KN, and General Counsel
Chris Imlay, W3KD. Dozens of offices were visited. Meanwhile, in the home
districts, ARRL elected officials, appointed officials, and members met with
Congressmen and their staffs to urge co-sponsorship. Members all over the
country phoned local Congressional offices and sent e-mails via Congressmen’s
web pages. Members also sent postal letters via ARRL HQ, some of them
generated at Amateur Radio conventions. This all-member effort is how we went
from 17 co-sponsors on August 1 to 47 on September 18.
We have e-mail and oral commitments from more than half a dozen additional
Congressmen to become co-sponsors of H.R. 4969. Members of Congress can
become co-sponsors only when Congress is in session, not during a recess.
Because Congress packed up and went home to campaign on September 19,
some Representatives didn’t have time to get their co-sponsorship made official
before the recess. There will be follow-up with the offices of those Congressmen
to make sure their co-sponsorship shows up on the official list as soon as
possible after Congress reconvenes in November.
What about ARRL members who wrote, e-mailed, and phoned their
Congressmen, but the Representatives haven’t become co-sponsors? Was this
time and effort wasted? Absolutely not. At the very least, these Congressional
offices now know that Amateur Radio exists in their districts and that Amateurs
have interests which deserve notice. A lot of politics is based on relationships.
Contacts made with members of Congress about H.R. 4969 contribute to
establishing relationships that can be maintained and enhanced in the future.
Does your Congressman know how Amateur Radio makes your district a safer
place to live if disasters occur? Does your Congressman know how Amateurs in
your district introduce young people to hands-on experience of how wireless
communications work, laying the foundation for careers? Realistically, we won’t
get support for H.R. 4969 from every member of Congress who is contacted by
Amateurs. What we certainly can do is to build relationships that will serve our
interests – and the public interest – if not right now, then in the future.
Members whose Congressmen have become co-sponsors are encouraged to
thank their Representatives by phone, e-mail, or postal mail. It’s good manners
and good relationship-building strategy. Members can also seek out opportunities
during the present recess to make the case for the bill at local offices and events.
In short: Keep on!
73, Kay N3KN
---Texas Combined ARES/MARS/RACES Exercise October 11, 2014---
Schedule: October 11, 2014 8AM to 1PM CDT. Traffic objectives may be
started at 6 PM October 10 (start of the Army MARS Exercise).
Goal: Exercise ARES readiness of agency installations, ARES Mutual Aid
Teams and other ARES stations in partnership with the Texas ARMY MARS and
RACES organizations. Include as many served agencies and other participants
as possible in local and wider area events.
Scenario: The major potential threat to South Texas remains that of a hurricane.
The scenario for this year combines the actual events of a major storm such as
Hurricane Ike with the effects of the stalled movement of Hurricane Rita.
A category V storm of unusually large size hits the coast just to the east of Port
Lavaca. Because of the unusually large storm front, gale force winds are felt
along the coast from Brownsville to Port Arthur with most areas experiencing
hurricane force winds. Because of the size and strength of the storm, there is
significant storm surge damage all along the Gulf coast, with the primary affected
areas from Corpus Christi to Galveston Island and Houston.
The storm starts to move inland on a North-Northeast track taking it between
Austin and San Antonio. The storm’s progress is halted approximately 100 miles
inland by a boundary condition coming down from Canada. This area is pounded
by hurricane force winds for a period in excess of 24 hours.
As a result, utility powers and trees are substantially impacted. One in three
power poles are down resulting in widespread loss of utility power. In addition,
cell phone towers have been devastated so the system is heavily compromised
but not entirely out of service. Cell coverage remains spotty and intermittent.
The storm itself is huge, so while the major effects are centered in the middle of
South Texas, bands of heavy rain and wind continue over most of the Section
with local damage and flooding resulting in loss of infrastructure and the use of
certain low lying roads.
Local Participation: ECs and DECs are encouraged to develop local content to
exercise their specific responses to the scenario. For example:
a. With electrical power out, local resources for delivering food and water will be
stressed. Emphasize working with Red Cross and local officials for food and
water distribution. Include getting status information back to the State
Operations Center (which may be simulated if not actually manned) and the
Section Emergency Coordinator.
b. Water and wind damage may be extensive and served agencies will have
lost their prime communications systems. Trunking systems that rely on
normal infrastructure will be affected. Evacuation scenarios will be
appropriate as would working with served agencies (or their simulated
equivalents) for dispatch, evacuation, and crowd control.
c. The Message Pickup Station system should be utilized for moving Winlink
email into and out of local areas. Practice local distribution and linking of
messages into and out of your area. Focus on N5TW as the primary
Message Pickup Station for Texas.
d. Interoperability is still a key task for all Amateur Radio Organizations (MARS,
ARES, and RACES). Work with local MARS and RACES organizations to
prove interoperable capability among the three Amateur Radio Organizations.
Where possible, served agencies should be involved in the drill and should
certainly be aware of it even if not participating directly. Contact should also be
made with local Army MARS members and RACES members to facilitate
interoperability among all services.
Contact with local served agencies should be made as soon as possible to see if
they will participate. Since some served agencies do not want to drill on
weekends, consider all or part of your local drill during the week. You may want
to do the drill in two parts: one part during the week if your served agencies will
participate, and one part on Saturday for maximum participation by your
members who work during the week.
Objectives: The following are the section exercise objectives. DECs and ECs
are encouraged to include additional local objectives on their local situation to
train and develop their organizations.
a. The Texas HF net will be activated according to standard procedures on 7285
(daytime) or 3873 (nighttime).
b. Local nets should operate according to local plans and procedures.
c. Interoperability with neighboring counties should be tested.
d. Local liaison with the HF net should be established to check in and maintain
contact with the state net.
e. Local stations should check into (and out of ) the HF net according to
operational protocols. Only the designated liaison station(s) need to remain
on the HF net after checking in and out.’
f. Individual stations should participate in their local area drills. If digital
capability is available, each station should send an ICS-213 (in rich text
format) with the following to your EC and to the SEC:
1. Operator(s) call sign
4. Local net frequency/tone if any
5. Winlink capabilities-e.g. VHF Packet, RMS Express, HF WINMOR, etc.
6. Station power type (commercial, generator, battery, etc.)
g. Each communications group is to send and ICS-213 (rich text format) with
simulated situational awareness information based on your local drill scenario
to their Disaster District Committee if the DDC is participating and can handle
the traffic. If the DDC is not operational or not able to forward the digital
traffic, send it directly to the State Operations Center (SOC) with a copy to the
SEC (NQ5L@ winlink.org). To be considered complete, you must receive a
reply back from the SOC. (The SOC will be simulated if it is not activated for
the drill.) Unless otherwise noted before the exercise, use
TEMPSOC@ winlink.org for the state EOC address.
h. The use of Winlink is the de facto standard for digital traffic within Texas
ARES. All groups are encouraged to initiate digital messages to and from
individual members. The ICS-213 format may be used if appropriate, but
plain text may also be used.
i. The use of Messge Pickup Stations for routing messages without an internet
connection is a key functional capability for ARES. Using this capability both
within your county and for interaction with other counties, DDCs, and the
State is a critical skill that must be developed.
j. Prior to the drill, additional information on working Winlink addresses will be
k. Local drills are encouraged to use the appropriate ICS forms in setting up and
conducting their drills.
l. Requests for any outside the district assistance should be made through the
appropriate DECs as required by the Section Emergency Plan.
After Action Reports: Each EC for participating groups will be expected to
submit an after action report. Reports should contain the following information:
1. Name of county participating
2. Name of participants
3. Agencies participating
4. Were you able to submit and ICS-213 to the DDC or SOC?
5. Did you get a reply form the SOC?
6. Were you able to establish HF Exercise net liaison?
7. Summary of local operations
8. What went well?
9. What did not go well?
10. Lessons learned
11. Suggestions for future exercises
Safety: Safety will be the prime objective in this exerci
West Texas Officials
Section Manager,Billy D. Roberts W5NPR
Section Traffic Manager
Assistant Section ManagerAugust N. Schott K5HCT
Affiliated Club CoordinatorRonald L. Harden KB5HGM
Assistant Section Manager,Howard T. Collier WB5EKW
Section Emergency Coordinator
Assistant Section ManagerLarry L. Springsteen WB8LBZ
Assistant Section ManagerCarl E. Jeans N5YXN
Official Observer CoordinatorRonny D. Gandy KB5GU
Assistant Section ManagerCharles C. Royall WB5T
Assistant Section ManagerCarla J. Dyer K5RLA