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The ARES Letter
July 21, 2021
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
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ARES® Links, Briefs

Tropical Storm Elsa fired a warning shot across the bow of Florida and the eastern seaboard that indicated a long hurricane season was to come. Briefly a hurricane, Elsa moved northward along Florida's western coast with heavy rain and gusty winds, making landfall on the eastern Florida panhandle before heading up the coast as far north as New England. "ARRL Headquarters and the ARRL Emergency Management Department monitored the storm's progress, and were ready to assist Sections affected by Elsa," ARRL Emergency Management Director Paul Gilbert, KE5ZW, said.

The ARRL Northern Florida Section activated an ARES net on 3950 kHz and, along with the ARRL West Central Florida Section, activated members in various roles to provide any communications support that was needed.

"Tropical Storm Elsa was a great opportunity for South Carolina ARES/AuxComm to communicate with our partners at the State level," said Billy Irwin, K9OH, Section Emergency Coordinator. "A couple of conference calls were held as the storm passed through our southern-most counties," Irwin said. "SKYWARN groups were monitoring for the potential of flooding and tornadoes, but no widespread damage was observed."

Jim Baker, N3XKJ, Assistant EC for Sussex County, Delaware, reported that on July 8 at 7:30 PM, "we started an informal weather net to gather information on weather conditions throughout the county with the intent of starting a formal weather net if needed." "Luckily we didn't need to go that far, but we did have 25 operators checking in to give weather reports," Baker said. "We did have watches and warnings, but no signs of actual damage from the storm." Jim Montgomery, WB3KAS, ARRL Maryland-DC Section Emergency Coordinator, checked in with Sussex county ARES on Echolink early on.

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International Amateur Radio Union Region 1 Emergency Communications Coordinator Greg Mossop, G0DUB, reported over the weekend that amateur radio volunteers have responded to widespread and catastrophic flooding in western Europe. The flooding, resulting from unprecedented heavy rainfall, has claimed more than 120 lives. -- Thanks, ARRL News Desk, Rick Lindquist, WW1ME

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The EmComm Training Organization (ETO) will continue the popular Winlink Thursday exercises to foster Winlink-knowledgeable operators across the country leading up to a nationwide drill November 13, 2021. Procedures will include a weekly exercise for routine practice with a fourth Thursday exercise of a more challenging nature. Exercises will almost always include a Winlink Express Check-in form. Please send questions about Winlink Thursdays. Questions about the ETO group can be sent here.

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2022 ARRL National Convention Emergency Communications Training Track Not to be Missed -- It's not too early to plan on attending the 2022 ARRL National Convention, set to take place at Orlando HamCation® (www.hamcation.com) on February 11 - 13. A day-long workshop on emergency communications is scheduled as one of the training tracks that will be offered as part of the National Convention program that will precede HamCation on Thursday, February 10. The training presentations will feature current protocols, techniques, and responsibilities for the modern volunteer radio operator serving partner public safety entities. The presenters are all subject-matter experts. Topics to be covered include the ARRL National and Florida Emergency Communicator Task Books, an overview of amateur radio responses to disasters, basic voice traffic handling with hands-on voice traffic net/message transfer practice, using the ICS-213 form, Winlink's ARDOP (Amateur Radio Digital Open) and VARA protocols, and the Radio Mail Server (RMS) hybrid internet/HF radio gateway system. Registration for the National Convention Training Tracks will open later this summer at www.arrl.org/expo.

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National Public Radio's Morning Edition Los Angeles broadcast this report about how amateur radio supports the City of Los Angeles Fire Department (LAFD). Former ARRL Southwestern Division Vice Director Marty Woll, N6VI, serves as the Training Officer for LAFD's Auxiliary Communication Service (ACS). The reporter who provided this story had contacted ARRL Los Angeles Section Manager Diana Feinberg, AI6DF, initially and she referred the reporter to LAFD ACS as well as the Sheriff Department's amateur radio L.A. County Disaster Communication Service. The latter was featured in a 2019 NPR program.

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ARRL Board of Directors Creates Emergency Communications and Field Services Committee

At its July 2021 meeting just concluded, the ARRL Board of Directors approved By-Law changes creating a third Standing Committee that joins the existing Administration & Finance Committee and Programs & Services Committee. The new Emergency Communications and Field Services Committee (EC-FSC) has as its charter developing and recommending new or modified Board policy and programs for emergency communications through its ARES and NTS organizations; enhanced support for its Field Organization leadership volunteers, including Section Managers, SECs, STMs, ACCs, SGLs, SYCs, PICs, and TCs; and an increased focus on its Affiliated Clubs.

The EC-FSC is further tasked with providing guidance to the CEO in the translation of Board policy into prioritized tasking, funding, and staffing of programs, services, and training in support of Amateur Radio emergency communications, Field Organization volunteers, and recruitment and retention of new and existing Members through assistance to Affiliated and Special Service Clubs.

The EC-FSC also has responsibility for monitoring and assessing trends in emergency communications technology and participant skills worldwide, and for identifying "best practices" for voluntary emergency communications provided by ARES and NTS, coordinating and cooperating with other Amateur Radio national societies as appropriate.

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ARRL Rededication Ceremony Recognizes ARES® Essential Services to Nation's Communities

On Thursday, July 15, ARRL Headquarters in Newington, Connecticut, hosted a rededication ceremony, recognizing ARRL's commitment to all radio amateurs who enhance the communications capability and security of the nation. ARRL President Rick Roderick, K5UR, recognized members of ARRL's Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES®) for serving their communities with essential communications. Glenn A. Field, KB1GHX, Warning Coordination Meteorologist for the National Weather Service Boston/Norton office in Massachusetts was in attendance. Also in attendance were representatives of the American Red Cross and the Connecticut Department of Emergency Services and Public Protection.

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Santa Cruz County (California) ARES and CERT Work Together During Scotts Valley Active Shooter Drill

During the last week of June, the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC) and Scotts Valley police departments hosted daily active shooter drills at the Scotts Valley High School. Personnel from 40 law enforcement and fire agencies from across California took part. Their goal was to foster cooperation across agencies responding to shooting situations that have sadly played out across the country in recent years. "This is the only training of its kind in the state certified by the California Peace Officer Standards and Training. This is a one-day course that is taught over eight consecutive days to ensure the maximum number of attendees as possible could attend," said Jason Moore, a liaison for volunteers with the UC Santa Cruz Police department.

Participating agencies included all Santa Cruz local and county police, fire departments, state and federal law enforcement, several federal agencies, Santa Cruz County Office of Response, Recovery & Resilience, the Red Cross, Citizen Emergency Response Teams (CERT), and ARES.

Although law enforcement and fire departments have been training their own in similar exercises for decades, inter-agency cooperation has been the central focus for only the last ten years. Each year the exercise has become more inclusive, bringing in volunteer actors from the community and now including CERT and ARES volunteers as an integral part. Each has a role to play: law enforcement securing the scene; Fire and EMTs performing triage; Red Cross providing food and comfort; CERT performing tasks such as traffic and perimeter observation; and ARES aiding in communication. These were not all the moving parts, but enough here to illustrate the complexity involved in a mass casualty event.

Santa Cruz ARES and CERT organizations cooperated closely leading up to and participating in the exercise. They worked under the aegis of Michael Beaton of Santa Cruz County Office of Response, Recovery, and Resilience (OR3), formerly the Office of Emergency Services. JoMarie Faulkerson, KM6URE, and John Gerhardt, N6QX, organized the ARES volunteers who worked closely with the UCSC police department, the primary coordinator and liaison with service group volunteers.

CERT and ARES volunteers were paired and stationed around the perimeter of the high school campus to watch for any activity or attempted entry onto the property. Duties included working at fixed post positions to monitor the training site perimeter and parking areas, redirecting unauthorized pedestrian and/or vehicle traffic that may inadvertently enter the area, and report or communicate potential suspicious activity or other issues. While the CERT team members were concerned with the observation and interaction with the public, ARES team members oversaw radio traffic and communication.

In practice, the roles were a little more give-and-take. A good number of ARES members in Santa Cruz County are active in CERT as well, and there is also a concerted effort to train CERTs in radio communications using MURS radios. (Some go on to get their amateur radio licenses and find their way to ARES eventually.) Enough overlap existed that the online signup form was aimed at both groups, with members choosing affiliations on a shift-by-shift basis. Often the designated CERT volunteer on a team was also an ARES member.

There were two shifts per day, each with several stations to be covered at the entrance and perimeter gates. Despite the nature of the drill, these far-flung posts were quiet most of the time, though kept on the alert with frequent radio communication.

Mornings were devoted to workshops for responding agencies covering specific aspects of the drill such as triage techniques, strategy, and interagency roles. Meanwhile, volunteer actors were being instructed and having realistic makeup, or "moulage," applied. After initial arrivals and check-ins, these were quiet times for the CERT/ARES teams around the perimeter. Half-hour welfare checks by radio allowed ARES members to practice, and since communications were primarily by MURS or a police radio channel, non-ham CERTs had an opportunity to learn radio communication techniques as well.

The shooting scenarios played out in the afternoon, with two or three enactments per day. Communication was much more active then. Cues and warnings of imminent "hot" situations had to be conveyed and acknowledged efficiently. Sometimes the action traffic overlapped the scheduled check-ins. ARES communicators had to sort priorities when this happened.

In the end, this year's exercise was a great success for interagency and team cooperation. Several supervisors were impressed with how well participants from different groups worked with and got to know each other. Quite a few exchanged contact information after their shifts. Faulkerson said that 57 shifts were filled by ARES volunteers, contributing almost 300 hours. She counted 76 CERT shifts. She also commented that some put in both ARES and CERT shifts at different times, and some even volunteered as victim-actors on other days.

Participants in both groups came from all over Santa Cruz County. Hams of all experience and skill levels were represented, and people with limited mobility were accommodated. Gender representation was about 50/50. Santa Cruz Fire Battalion training and safety division chief, Chad Akim, said that working with CERT and ARES this year was a great experience. He appreciated the added value they brought to the exercise and looks forward to seeing them next year. The participants returned the compliment, noting the thoughtfulness of the provision of shade, delivered refreshments and well-stocked coolers for hydration. - Allison Hershey, KM6RMN, Felton, California

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A Different Slant on Winlink Wednesday

The ARRL Southern New Jersey Section has been running its Winlink Wednesday (WW) Net for just over six months now. The net emphasizes real world, practical training. It offers operators a chance to work with as many Winlink form templates as possible and keeps things fun and interesting in the process.

Operators are free to send a standard check-in, using the message body of a regular Winlink email, but if they want more of a challenge we post an exercise each week using different Winlink form templates.

Some differences from the standard WW: Telnet is encouraged, if RF is not available. This has opened the net up to operators that are new to Winlink, or digital modes in general. It has given them a chance to get familiar with the Winlink software before taking the plunge into digital interfaces, sound card modems, etc. Over 95% of those operators switch to RF in short order once they've learned the software.

Stats are secondary. Net Control posts the number of check-ins and where they were from (by County or State), but that's it. The focus is on each week's practical exercise.

We pass real world traffic, using a wide array of Winlink templates. Each week's exercise information is posted online on Tuesday evening. Pre-filled PDF forms are usually converted to PNG images. That way the information cannot be "cut and pasted" into the Winlink template and must be typed in manually - just like if a served agency handed you a paper form.

Each week is different or builds on a previously posted exercise. An example of a typical net: During Week #28, Net Control posted a one minute video of an actual earthquake, and requested the net to send in USGS DYFI reports based on what they saw to SNJNWS. This is preferable to having operators "just make up" a report.

Net Control uses applicable tactical call signs: SNJOEM for EOC oriented traffic; SNJNWS for weather related forms; SNJARC for simulated Red Cross traffic; and SNJWW for regular check-ins and after-action reports. All net messages are sent to those tactical call signs as directed by the net control station. This keeps operators on their toes from week to week.

We discuss what worked and what didn't. The Net's operators remain anonymous to each other most of the time. This makes discussing errors and corrections much easier and productive, as no call sign is attached to a mistake. We've had very positive reactions to our net, with regular check-ins from Alabama all the way up to Maine. Please feel free to go through our archive for ideas. You can also use our postings for your own Winlink Wednesday Net.

Our postings from Week #7 through the current net can be found here: Southern New Jersey Section EmComm » Winlink Wednesday For additional information or questions, send an email: Tim Tonnesen, NJ2N, SNJWW NCS

ARRL Section ARES News

Duval County (Jacksonville, Northern Florida Section) ARES Conducts Equipment Inspection -- Brian Schultheis, K4BJS, Duval ARES Emergency Coordinator, reported that during the month of June, Duval ARES inspected and tested radio systems and antenna systems at 28 City of Jacksonville evacuation shelters. A team of 16 Duval ARES members volunteered to repair antenna systems, test the installed shelter radio systems, and measure antenna performance. Using test equipment and amateur radio, measurements and performance tests were done on the amateur radio systems located at 26 Duval County schools, a college building, and a community center. The team's efforts identified a few malfunctioning radio systems and equipment needing maintenance. These inspection results provided the City Of Jacksonville Emergency Management Division with up to date information for shelter management. - QST NFL, July 2021 issue

California Auxiliary Communications Service Pioneer W6WWW Silent Key -- Cary Mangum, W6WWW, a well-respected California Auxiliary Communications Service (ACS) pioneer, became a Silent Key recently. His exemplary, dedicated, and lengthy tenure of over 16 years serving the California Governor's Office of Emergency Services as Chief State Auxiliary Communications Service Officer was of great benefit to Cal OES and like organizations locally, regionally, statewide and then nationwide; but especially to the citizens of California.

Mangum came to Cal OES not only with a Doctorate in Law but with a wealth of knowledge and experience gained from his tenure with the US Navy in World War II in Naval communications programs. He was involved with countless other volunteer amateur radio organizations. From its inception, he managed the ACS program both on-scene and from the State Operations Communications Center through floods, fires, civil unrest and search and rescues. He authored hundreds of weekly RACES, ACS and emergency communications bulletins over many years introducing the values of the Incident Command System and other management techniques to amateur radio organizations. He assumed responsibilities in the California Emergency Alert System Program.

These types of efforts and responses that were, and still are, performed so successfully by this organization could not have happened without Mangum's dedicated leadership and mentoring. His selfless dedication of some 50 or more hours a week for many years never went unnoticed. He was among those extremely rare individuals who had chosen to give freely of themselves to help their neighbors nationwide, no matter the personal effort needed, in time of need. He is to this day is an inspiration to others. -- Bill Pennington, WA6SLA, Chief, Communications Reserve/Admin; State RACES Officer, Communication Reserve Unit, Tactical Communications Unit, California Governor's Office of Emergency Services

ARES Resources

· Download the ARES Manual [PDF]

· ARES Field Resources Manual [PDF]

· ARES Standardized Training Plan Task Book [Fillable PDF]

· ARES Standardized Training Plan Task Book [Word]

· ARES Plan

· ARES Group Registration

· Emergency Communications Training

The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) consists of licensed amateurs who have voluntarily registered their qualifications and equipment, with their local ARES leadership, for communications duty in the public service when disaster strikes. Every licensed amateur, regardless of membership in ARRL or any other local or national organization is eligible to apply for membership in ARES. Training may be required or desired to participate fully in ARES. Please inquire at the local level for specific information. Because ARES is an amateur radio program, only licensed radio amateurs are eligible for membership. The possession of emergency-powered equipment is desirable, but is not a requirement for membership.

How to Get Involved in ARES: Fill out the ARES Registration form and submit it to your local Emergency Coordinator.

ARRL Resources

Join or Renew Today! Eligible US-based members can elect to receive QST or On the Air magazine in print when they join ARRL or when they renew their membership. All members can access digital editions of all four ARRL magazines: QST, On the Air, QEX, and NCJ.

Subscribe to NCJ -- the National Contest Journal. Published bimonthly, features articles by top contesters, letters, hints, statistics, scores, NA Sprint and QSO Parties.

Subscribe to QEX -- A Forum for Communications Experimenters. Published bimonthly, features technical articles, construction projects, columns, and other items of interest to radio amateurs and communications professionals.

Free of charge to ARRL members: Subscribe to the ARES Letter (monthly public service and emergency communications news), the ARRL Contest Update (biweekly contest newsletter), Division and Section news alerts -- and much more!

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