ARRL

ARRL Sections - West Texas

West Texas

West Texas

Contact Information

Section Name:
West Texas
Contact:
Bill Roberts, W5NPR
Daytime Phone:
432-837-2741
Evening Phone:
432-837-2741
Email:
w5npr@arrl.org

Basic Information

Division:
West Gulf
Description:

 

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

in 2014!

 

 

---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

https://beta.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-

bill/4969/cosponsors?q={22%3A[%22hr+4969%22]}&pageSort=alp

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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

2. Affliation

3. Location

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

provided.

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