ARES E-Letter for July 18, 2008
The ARES E-Letter July 18, 2008 ================= Rick Palm, K1CE, Editor <http://www.qrz.com/database?callsign=K1CE>, =================================== ARES reports, other related contributions, editorial questions or comments: <firstname.lastname@example.org>;; =================================== + ARRL Tells Red Cross of Remaining Background Check Policy Concerns ARRL President Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has written to Armond T. Mascelli, Vice President for Domestic Disaster response for the American Red Cross (ARC), to identify the ARRL's remaining concerns over the background check policy for ARC partners. Harrison emphasized that the commencement of negotiation of a replacement Statement of Understanding (SOU) between the two organizations should not be further delayed while these concerns are resolved, and that he looked forward to signing a new SOU once additional edits to the background check Disclosure Form and clarifications of the background check Authorization Form are in place for those radio amateurs who volunteer their service to the Red Cross. Harrison first wrote to Mascelli on November 28, 2007, setting out the ARRL's concerns with the background check procedures recently implemented by the ARC. ARC now requires a background check for amateur radio volunteers seeking to support a Red Cross disaster relief response for more than a seven day period. In the ARRL's view, amateur radio volunteers were being asked to consent to a more intrusive background check than was necessary or appropriate. Mascelli's reply on May 8, 2008, addressed some of the ARRL's concerns, and Harrison's latest letter to the ARC - sent on June 30, 2008 - recognizes considerable improvement in the forms related to the background check procedures that are linked via the ARC's Web site. However, Harrison also states that analysis of the forms has revealed two continuing problems: * The Authorization for Background Investigation consent form still contains "some highly equivocal and broad language which, because of its ambiguity, will inevitably discourage substantial numbers of radio amateurs from participating in the background check process." This form was not included with Mascelli's reply and was not seen by the ARRL until later. * The "Disclosure Regarding Background Investigation" can still be construed as overly broad, although this can be corrected by fairly simple edits. Harrison told Mascelli, "We do not want the implementation of these additional changes to further delay the negotiation of the terms of a replacement SOU. A new SOU is, in my view, a critical and urgent matter. Because the old SOU expired on September 16, 2007, the vacuum thereafter has served neither ARRL nor ARC well." ARRL and ARC staff are ready to work on a draft replacement SOU, the text of which will be reviewed by the ARRL's Programs and Services Committee and approved by either the Executive Committee or the Board prior to completion. Harrison concluded, "We look forward to continuing to provide seamless disaster response communications by Amateur Radio and to enhancing and expanding ARRL's proud partnership with the American Red Cross. I look forward to meeting with you and executing the new SOU once additional edits to the Disclosure Form, and adequate clarifications are included in the Authorization Form that appears on your web site for partner organizations are made, and when the new SOU terms are agreed upon." ________ In This Issue: + ARRL Tells Red Cross of Remaining Background Check Policy Concerns + IN HIS OWN WORDS: Sacramento Valley SM W6KJ on California Fire Disaster + Minnesota Tornadoes Response + GAREC-2008 Assembly Issues Statement, Congratulates Chinese + World Amateur Radio Day 2009 to Showcase EmComm + Region 2 EMCOR Changes Hands + Virginia Section "The New Era Begins Now" + LETTERS: Current JNOS Version and Development + LETTERS: ESF 15 + LETTERS: Licensing Standards + TRAINING: Git 'R Done! + K1CE For a Final _________ + IN HIS OWN WORDS: Sacramento Valley SM W6KJ on California Fire Disaster When we look back on June 2008, we will remember it as a month when Amateur Radio looked good in California. Here in the Sacramento Valley Section, a dedicated group of volunteers worked at Red Cross shelters and stations, supported domestic animal rescue operations, and sought other ways to help their communities. It started with too little rainfall over the winter. Then early in the month came the hot, dry winds. SEC Richard Cloyd, WO6P, put the Section ARES leadership on Stand By Alert. A careless woodcutting operation apparently sparked a fire that eventually consumed 24,000 acres. At mid-month our wild lands, so full of tinder dry fuel, began to burn. First threatened was the city of Paradise. That emergency lasted several days. A problem for Paradise is the lack of evacuation routes. When it was safe to go home, people did, but with a new appreciation for the need for better evacuation plans. The high winds were gone, but then we had dry thunderstorms, dropping very little rain but lots of lightning strikes. First we heard of 400, then 800, then over 1000 wild land fires. People in other mountain communities were advised, then directed, to evacuate their homes and seek shelters set up by the Red Cross. In Butte County, EC Steve Kaps, N6NPN, opened the ARES net on the Golden Empire ARS W6RHC repeater. As with the first fire, it was Chuck Orgovan, KF6YKQ, and Anna Horn, KG6ZOA, of Paradise, who manned the Spring Valley school shelter. The first shelter operation revealed that the coverage of the W6RHC repeater was not good in the shelter area. But, by relaying the communications between Spring Valley and NCS Steve, N6NPN via the Sutter County WD6AXM repeater, we were able to make things work. A better antenna at the shelter seemed to help for a while, but eventually operations shifted entirely to the WD6AXM machine. Shelters in other areas of the section were being opened, and SEC WO6P relayed that information to me. I informed Red Cross in Yuba City. Within minutes they realized they did not know where and when these other shelters were opening. We then opened the KG6WGQ station at Three Rivers Chapter of the American Red Cross in Yuba City so that we had a better chance of communicating with multiple outlying shelters. The station was to be open when the ARC response group was operating. That meant shifts, so we went to three five-hour shifts per day for a week. At one point, Ken Miller, KF6JRE, volunteered to take a shift in Yuba City from his home in West Sacramento. We were able to pass Red Cross requirements so that opening shelters would send their information to the various people who needed it. Shift scheduling was handled by Paul Johnson, N6XVL, of Olivehurst, who came up with a list of volunteers to man all the shifts for this week of Red Cross operation. We were in the process of scheduling relief for Butte County operators when, on Friday night, June 27, Red Cross decided to move from Yuba City to Chico to better use the resources they had in place there. At that point, further net operation by ARES was not needed and so was suspended for the weekend. Fire suppression efforts were making headway, and on Monday morning, June 30, most of the sheltered population was allowed to return home. Tired operators and malfunctioning equipment got a much-needed rest. On Sunday, June 29, Yuba/Sutter EC Art Craigmill, K6ALC, of Oregon House, heard a fire call on his scanner. The location was nearby so he gathered his equipment and went to check on the situation. He was able to direct traffic for a while to move curious motorists on their way. He heard that a nearby resident was worried so he went to reassure her. The grass fire was being controlled. On his way there he saw another fire. He notified the incident commander, and then took action to stop the spread of this new fire, which was at a home construction site. The home had water pressure and this aided Art in his fire-fighting efforts until the engine company arrived to put it out. Throughout the Section and beyond, smoke from wild land fires made the air dangerously contaminated with particulate matter. Various satellite imagery and news photos were available to emphasize this point. The air stank of smoke and things burned. With air quality values as bad as we have seen them in 25 years, many clubs in the section had to cancel their Field Day operations. First to do so was the Nevada County ARC. Not only did they not get to do Field Day, but their site at the Nevada County Fairgrounds was used as a fire fighting staging area. Oroville ARS had many operators involved in the shelter operation, and Bill Cross, K6DYT, was volunteering as an animal shelter worker. Virginia Paschke, KI6COL, also deployed to Butte County from her home in Sutter County to help at the animal shelter. Ginny got her license last year for this very reason. The domestic animal rescue group provides assurance for people who need to evacuate that they can do so without leaving their pets behind. It speeds the evacuation process and keeps people from getting into more dangerous situations. Finally, Chico's GEARS, and Yuba Sutter's YSARC also decided that the air contamination was too severe for Field Day and they cancelled also. Both clubs had many members who manned ARES shifts during this emergency. Assistant Section Manager for Youth, Curtis Maccoun, KI6ESK, reported smoky conditions in the Nevada area east of the Mother Lode DX Club Field Day location on Martis Peak with ten operators. Most of the places operating this weekend would see a slight clearing of the thick smoke that plagued more northern locations. It was a reminder that fires remain burning-nearly 2000 as this is written-and that we should all remain ready for the next phase of this emergency. -- Ron Murdock, W6KJ, ARRL Sacramento Valley Section Manager + Minnesota Tornadoes Response The Southwest Minnesota ARES Team responded to a June 11 storm front, which moved through southwest Minnesota bringing wind and two tornadoes. The tornadoes touched down in and around Fulda. The ARES group is comprised of local county ARES teams from Murray, Cottonwood, Nobles, and Jackson counties. Southwest Minnesota District 5 EC Dan Anderson, KD0ASX, was spotting along with nine ARES members during the severe weather with direct communications to the Murray County Sheriff's department. Provided were real time reports and accurate information on storm events and what was happening in the area. The Sheriff's department commented on how the ARES team was a real service to the community in spotting for severe weather that day. Two newspapers cited the team, which is SKYWARN trained. Due to its communications and training, the local Murray County Medical Center hospital was able to make decisions on what to do with their patients and securing the hospital from the severe weather. This was done by having one of the nurses on duty (holder of a Technician class license) monitoring team communications on the 2-meter repeater located in Slayton, Minnesota, using her hand-held radio. She stated that the ARES team had provided faster up to date information than the local radio or TV stations from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, could provide. -- Kevin Haney, KC0YKX, NREMT-B, Murray County, Minnesota Emergency Coordinator <http://www.MurrayCountyARES.org/> + GAREC-2008 Assembly Issues Statement, Congratulates Chinese The fourth Global Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference, GAREC-2008, was held with the 33rd HamRadio exhibition and meeting in Friedrichshafen, Germany, June 26-27, 2008. It was attended by representatives of national IARU member societies and Amateur Radio emergency communications groups from all three IARU Regions. The group reviewed the results of the GAREC-05, GAREC-06 and GAREC-07 meetings, noting progress made on their recommendations, and also assessed recent experiences with exercises and actual emergency operations. It noted the new MOU between the IARU and the ITU in 2007 (The International Telecommunication Union (ITU), the telecomms-regulatory branch of the UN, and the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU), which is the international NGO whose objective is to protect, promote and advance Amateur and Amateur-Satellite Services, signed the Memorandum of Understanding in Geneva in December 2007). The IARU and ITU have already cooperated on running training courses for both radio amateurs and telecommunications regulators. This agreement paves the way for more training courses across the globe, and the parties will engage in joint projects and activities, sharing information on emergency telecommunications. The assembly also noted the IARU and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) agreement of 2008 <http://www.ifrc.org/docs/news/speech08/hp270608.asp>, and the Operational Agreement between the IARU and the United Nations (UN) in force since 1999. The assembly reviewed the reports on the Simulated Emergency Tests (SET) held in Region 1 in 2006 and 2007 and of the first Global SET held in May 2008, and the reports on recent emergency communications operations, in particular the report from the Chinese Radio Sports Association (CRSA), and the Declaration of the Global Forum on Effective Use of Telecommunications/ICT for Disaster Management: Saving Lives (Geneva, Switzerland, December 10-12, 2007) <http://www.itu.int/ITU-D/emergencytelecoms/events/global_forum/partnershipstyle2.html>. The group formally asked the ITU to support the activities of IARU and of countries in the implementation of the emcomm modifications of Article 25 of the international Radio Regulations. (The part of Article 25 concerning Emergency Communications says "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-08 conferees called on all national IARU member societies, including ARRL, and specialized amateur radio emergency communications groups to take action on the following: * Ensure that their government authorities (like the FCC here in the U.S.) implement the modifications to Article 25 discussed above, in particular the regulations governing third-party-traffic during emergencies and during training for emergency operations. * Promote the concept of the Center of Activity frequencies for emergency traffic and the recommendation concerning use of the suffix "/D" by stations engaged in emergency traffic or emergency communication exercises. * To use any available real-time communications channels, including but not limited to Web sites, bulletin boards and DX-clusters to draw the attention of the largest possible number of Amateur Radio operators to on-going emergency communications near the Center of Activity Frequencies, in order to prevent interference with such traffic. * To include where possible into their contest rules the recommendation that a frequency range of 5 kHz above and below the Center of Activity frequencies adopted by the conferences in the three ITU (IARU) Regions should be kept free of contest traffic. * To use their contacts with national regulatory authorities to encourage the implementation of the Tampere Convention on the Provision of Telecommunication Resources for Disaster Mitigation and Relief Operations. See <http://www.iaru.org/emergency/tc-hams.html> * To support the work of the IARU on an international Emergency Communications Handbook and to provide copies of agreements with partners (served agencies) 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 make optimum use of resources available from IARU member societies and specialized groups towards a favorable national regulatory environment. * To work towards establishing cooperation with the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies. <http://www.ifrc.org/docs/news/speech08/hp270608.asp> The assembly also congratulated the Chinese Radio Sports Association (CRSA) on the outstanding contribution of Chinese Amateur Radio operators in support of the humanitarian response to the tragic events of May 2008. It called upon the IARU Administrative Council and International Secretariat to advise and assist in the work on the IARU Emergency Communications Handbook, and the publication of a leaflet or brochure presenting the role of the Amateur Radio Service in emergency communications. And finally, the group recommended that annual GAREC conferences should rotate among the three ITU (IARU) Regions and maintain the character of GAREC as an informal meeting among representatives of IARU member societies and of Amateur Radio groups specializing in emergency communications, serving as a forum for the exchange of experience and as an advisory body for the work on emergency communications of the IARU. + World Amateur Radio Day 2009 to Showcase EmComm The Administrative Council (AC) of the IARU held its annual meeting on June 24-25 in Konstanz, Germany and took the following action: "Amateur Radio: Your Resource in Disaster and Emergency Communication" was selected as the theme for the next World Amateur Radio Day, April 18, 2009. [Each year on the anniversary of its founding, April 18, the IARU marks World Amateur Radio Day. On this day next year, the anniversary of its inaugural meeting in Paris, the IARU dedicates World Amateur Radio Day to the use of Amateur Radio as a valuable emcomm resource]. + Region 2 EMCOR Changes Hands IARU Region 2 President Reinaldo Leandro, YV5AMH, has appointed Dr Cesar Pio Santos A., HR2P, of San Pedro Sula, Honduras, as IARU Region 2 Emergency Communications Coordinator; Santos will be taking over from Rick Palm, K1CE. According to Leandro, Santos is a well-known emergency expert in the region who helped to provide emergency communications and medical relief in Honduras in the wake of Hurricane Mitch. He remains active as a volunteer in his country's governmental emergency communications institution and as a member of the Emergency Communications Advisory Group (ECAG) for Area D (Central America) in IARU Region 2. [It was my pleasure and privilege to work with Dr. Santos, who was one of the finest and most regular contributors to the work of the Region's Emergency Communications Advisory Group. He will serve as an excellent role model and leader for Region 2 emcomm initiatives. - K1CE] +The NEW Era Begins Now! A historic document went into effect 11:30 AM on Thursday, July 3, 2008, when Michael M. Cline, State Coordinator, Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Emergency Management (VDEM), A. C. "Mac" McNeer, K4YEF, State RACES Officer, and Virginia ARRL Section Manager (SM) Carl A. Clements, W4CAC, and Section Emergency Coordinator (SEC) Ronald M. Sokol, K4KHZ, signed the Memorandum of Understanding between VDEM and VA Section ARRL at the Virginia Emergency Operations Center in Richmond. "It was a lot of work completed by a lot of people that made this significant event happen," stated SM Clements, "and we will continue to work together with emergency managers across the Commonwealth in support of their emergency communications needs in service to the citizens and guests in Virginia." SEC Ron Sokol was extremely pleased that the signing of the document has come to fruition. He stated " The restoration of this MOU has taken a succession of ARES Administrations to accomplish. Both Carl and I are pleased to be in leadership at this time to see this MOU to conclusion. We are fortunate to have such viable and flexible VDEM leadership and staff with which to work. A special thanks to Terry Hebert, KG4GLS, of VDEM, for his tireless efforts of assisting in the accomplishment of this task. This document allows ARES/RACES to be as ONE in the best interests of the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia." Joe Safranek, K4JJS, PIC, VA Section ARRL + LETTERS: Current JNOS Version and Development I saw the item in the June issue about JNOS and followed the link included: The author's page had available an old version of the program with no links to the current effort. Maiko Langelaar, VE4KLM, has picked up JNOS after version 1.11f and has done a great job of keeping it current. His site for JNOS 2 is <http://www.langelaar.net/projects/jnos2/>, which includes current documentation and installation downloads. JNOS is strongly present in the Michigan state-wide packet network. -- Clark Wierda, N8CBW <email@example.com> + LETTERS: ESF-15 In re the item in the last issue about ESF-15 in Palm Beach County: Volunteer Reception Centers (VRC) focus on unaffiliated volunteers. These are the people that are not registered nor involved in some type of established volunteer program. After a disaster, a large number of volunteers want to help. Some drive across town, while others drive across the country. In Polk County during the 2004 Hurricane Season, our VRC was operational for about nine weeks. -- Paul Womble, K4FB, Polk County (Florida) Emergency Management <firstname.lastname@example.org> I was the state chair for Massachusetts VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) for several years until 2003. MAVOAD was the lead agency for ESF-15. MAVOAD was positioned as a group coordinating the activities of its member agencies, but had no way to actually direct their efforts in carrying out the tasks of ESF-15. Each member agency recruited, qualified and trained its own volunteers. Each found its own funding, particularly in disasters, and there was little, if any, sharing of resources. There were from time to time cooperative actions between agencies in specific disaster responses. The MAVOAD roster included local representatives of national and local agencies active in disaster. I also represented ARRL/ARES. Within the MAVOAD structure, disaster responses rarely required a subordinated communications support but we were ready. I do understand the rationale for each agency to qualify and train its own volunteers, especially now with heightened security. However well-intentioned, volunteers cannot be accepted off the street, especially hams, but even shelter workers. ESF-15 deals with volunteers and donations, and management of the latter is crucial. Every disaster explodes with material donations that were not requested but offered and/or delivered anyway. Generous individuals believe certain items are "needed" and they just want to know where to deliver them. Manufacturers, distributors and retailers also use the occasion to dump goods regardless of need in the disaster. I suggest looking into the FEMA courses on donation management. For ESF-15 members the value goes well beyond its title. - Bob Salow, WA1IDA, Natick, Massachusetts <email@example.com> [For an understanding of VOADs, see <http://www.nvoad.org/>; ARRL is a NVOAD member. For a complete look at all Emergency Support Functions (ESF) under the new National Response Framework, see <http://www.fema.gov/emergency/nrf/> -- ed]. + LETTERS: No Ham Left Behind I have to agree with the "No Ham Left Behind" comment in the last issue by Paul W. Plack, AE4KR, Murray, Utah. Over the years I've seen far too many Amateur Radio operators with a holier-than-thou attitude that discourages the new generation of hams. It is long past time that we start supporting one another more. -- Ed Humphries, N5RCK, Powder Springs, Georgia + TRAINING: Git 'R Done! In its 2007 report to the ARRL Board of Directors, the League's National Emergency Response Planning Committee (NERPC) recommended that several courses be taken by emcomm operators: * ARRL's ARECC Level 1 <http://www.arrl.org/cep/calendar/> Description: Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency Communications. A basic course to raise awareness and provide additional knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. This course has 23 lesson units, is expected to take approximately 25 hours to complete over an 8-week period. Senior hams are encouraged to participate! Prerequisites: Amateur Radio license. Basic computer, Internet, and email navigational skills are required. Availability: Classes for this course begin once per month. Additional Information: Each lesson consists of text, quiz questions, and Student Activities, which are required for successful completion. Every student is assigned a mentor/instructor to review his/her student activities and guide him/her through the course. This course is a prerequisite to Level 2, EC-002 and Level 3, EC-003, Amateur Radio Emergency Communications courses. Students have the option of printing course information and reading offline. A printed transcript of course material is available as an option and for additional cost. Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Course, ARRL Order No. 8462. Suggested Reference Material: The Emergency Communication Handbook, ARRL Order No. 9388. Non-Member Cost: $75.00 ARRL Member Cost: $45.00 * Red Cross combined course in Adult CPR/First Aid Basics * Red Cross online Introduction to Disaster Services See <http://www.redcross.org/flash/course01_v01/> for information on theses courses. * FEMA IS-100 (Introduction to Incident Command System) See <http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is100.asp> * FEMA IS-200 (ICS for Single Resource and Initial Action Incidents) See <http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is200.asp> * FEMA IS-700 (National Incident Management System) See <http://training.fema.gov/emiweb/is/is700.asp> Except for the first two, all courses are free of charge, and CPR/First Aid may be free to members of the Red Cross. CPR/First Aid is the only course that requires periodic refreshers and the only course which must be taken in person rather than on the Internet. The NERPC decided that medical professionals should be exempted from the CPR/First Aid course requirement. Where FEMA courses exist in more than one current version - aimed at somewhat different audiences - any of the currently-available versions will suffice. [As a medical professional, I also highly recommend The American Heart Association (AHA) Basic Life Support (BLS), and Advanced Cardiac Life Support (ACLS) courses, both of which I've taken several times over the past few years - K1CE} If you are real glutton for training, see <http://training.fema.gov/> for many more high-quality courses that will make you an even more valuable volunteer. + K1CE For A Final In the near future, the ARES E-Letter will be changing to an HTML format that will allow us to publish your ARES photos, so please send good quality .jpg files to your editor <firstname.lastname@example.org>. Keep the size to well under a meg, please! For an idea of what the ARES E-Letter will look like, see the Contest Update e-letter, edited by Ward Silver, N0AX, on the archives at the League's Web site <http://www.arrl.org/contests/update/index.html?issue=2008-07-09>. See you next month! 73, Rick Copyright 2008 American Radio Relay League, Inc. All Rights Reserved.