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ARES Letter Issues

The ARES Letter
February 16, 2011
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
The View from the World

IARU, ITU, and Emergency Communication

If you were to ask most Amateur Radio operators what entity is responsible for granting privileges to use portions of the radio spectrum the answer would likely be their own national telecommunication authority. Here in the US, that would be the FCC, of course. However, that's only partially true. The ultimate authority for the use of the radio spectrum is the International Telecommunication Union (ITU). Every radio amateur should understand what the ITU is and why its work and decisions are important.

There are three sectors in the ITU: Radio-communication (ITU-R), Development (ITU-D) and Standardization (ITU-T). The International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) is a Sector Member of both the ITU-R Sector and the ITU-D Sector. The IARU participates in both sectors by attending meetings that involve issues that may impact the amateur or the amateur-satellite services.

The ITU-R Sector is important for radiocommunication services, including the amateur and amateur-satellite services. Every four or five years the ITU holds a World Radiocommunication Conference (WRC) to revise the international Radio Regulations.

ITU-D is where much of the ITU's work on disaster response takes place. The development arm of the ITU considers emergency telecommunications an integral part of its projects integrating telecommunications/information and communication technology in disaster predication, detection, and alerting. Emergency telecommunications play a critical role in the immediate aftermath of disasters by ensuring timely flow of vital information, which is much needed by government agencies and other humanitarian actors that are involved in rescue operations and providing medical assistance to the injured. IARU's task in the ITU-D Sector is to ensure that Amateur Radio's role in disaster communications is understood and appreciated by the ITU members. The ITU-D Sector also conducts a worldwide conference.

The ITU also sponsors regional and global exhibitions called TELECOMS. An ITU Telecom offers a global Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) community platform that gathers stakeholders from across the telecommunications/ICT sector to connect, collaborate and create the future ICT landscape. Forums and seminars are conducted at the Telecoms and IARU has participated in such forums, usually on topics related to emergency communications. - IARU E-Letter, January 2011 issue, International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) Secretary Rod Stafford, W6ROD [Here is a good site for information on ITU activities relating to disaster response, mitigation, and the Tampere Convention - K1CE]


In This Issue:



ARRL Sets EmComm Interests in Legislative Goals

The ARRL Board of Directors held its 2011 Annual Meeting January 21-22, 2011 in Windsor, Connecticut, under the chairmanship of President Kay Craigie, N3KN, a former Section Emergency Coordinator of the ARRL Eastern Pennsylvania section. The Board discussed its legislative program in the 111th Congress and plans for the 112th, particularly the reintroduction of the Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Enhancement Act into the House of Representatives and the expected similar Senate bill. The Board voted to adopt seven legislative objectives for the 112th Congress that affects us as ARES® members and emergency communicators, and Amateur Radio as a whole:

  • Expansion of the "reasonable accommodation" of Amateur Radio antennas to all forms of land use regulation;
  • Opposition to the reallocation of amateur spectrum;
  • Opposition to legislation that diminishes the rights of federal licensees in favor of unlicensed emitters;
  • Seeking recognition of the unique attributes of the Amateur Radio Service in any legislation addressing communications in emergencies, disasters and homeland security matters;
  • Supporting the legislative objectives of other radiocommunication services that require spectrum access and protection from interference for noncommercial purposes that benefit the public;
  • Opposition to distracted driving legislation that does not exempt two-way mobile transmitters operated by FCC licensees, and
  • Supporting The FCC Commissioners' Technical Resource Enhancement Act.

More on the ARRL Board meeting here.

New Monthly ARES/EmComm Survey

Starting in February we will have a monthly survey question related to ARES and EmComm similar to the Quick Stats found in QST and on the ARRL website. To access the poll click here. The February survey will be available until the 28th and results will be published in next month's ARES E-Letter. We ask that you only submit your answer once.

Do you have an idea for a survey question? Submit your idea to

Emergency Messaging Webinar February 26

ARRL Atlantic Division Director Bill Edgar, N3LLR, will host a webinar for ARRL members on using Narrow Band Emergency Messaging Software (NBEMS) -- a set of programs used to send messages and files via Amateur Radio using an audio interface. On Saturday, February 26 at 10 AM (EST), NBEMS developers Dave Kleber, KB3FXI, and Western Pennsylvania Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator Harry Bloomberg, W3YJ, will present a two hour webinar that covers NBEMS's advanced features. Learn about the use of NBEMS FLWRAP and FLMSG to send and receive spread sheet/database data and form-based messages such as the ICS-213 and NTS/Radiogram forms. Bloomberg and Kleber will also be covering HF digital net procedures and protocols and hope to incorporate a live HF demonstration that will be viewable by all those attending the webinar. Register for this webinar here. -- ARRL Letter

Urban Search for CERT and ARES®

Amateur Radio operators and CERT members can help save lives by learning how to search for missing children and at-risk adults during a one-day training event to be held Saturday, March 19, in Stockton, California.

The "Urban Search for CERT and ARES®" workshop will kickoff creation of a new rapid-response program using Amateur Radio operators and Community Emergency Response Team members as searchers. Volunteers attending the class will become the program's first members.

Taught by leaders of the Alameda County Sheriff's Search and Rescue Team, the class will give volunteers the basic skills necessary to safely look for missing kids and at-risk adults in the urban or suburban environment.

The event will be held at the San Joaquin County Agricultural Center, 2105 E. Earhart Ave., Stockton, California, adjacent to the Stockton airport. The event runs from 8 AM until 4 PM. It is sponsored by the Amateur Radio Emergency Service of San Joaquin County. The workshop is open to anyone interested; however, seating is limited and priority will be given to current ARES® and CERT members. You need not be a San Joaquin County resident to attend. There is no fee for the class, although donations will be accepted to support the event and search program.

The workshop marks the second anniversary of the search for Sandra Cantu, an 8-year-old Tracy girl who was abducted near her home on March 27, 2009. Her body was discovered just over a week later. The organizers and instructors were involved in the search for Sandra. While later investigation found the child was likely deceased even before she was noticed to be missing, San Joaquin ARES® hopes this program will make a difference in the lives of children in the future.

Elders with dementia or other cognitive disorders are a second focus of the program. Statistics show that many of these patients will wander from facilities and caregivers. If not found quickly, a significant number will eventually be discovered deceased.

The goal of the program is to, in cooperation with law enforcement, get 10 two-searcher teams on-scene within one hour of notification. Such a response would dramatically increase the resources available to search for the missing person. For additional information, please contact David Coursey, N5FDL, ARES® Emergency Coordinator, San Joaquin County, California

Are You Training Followers or Leaders?

Here's something that I've known for a while but recently jumped out at me: Am I training leaders or followers?

Our group has become involved in a project -- setting up and managing portable emergency vaccination clinics -- that is supposed to require between 40 and 75 volunteers per shift per site. With four sites, that's potentially 300 volunteers per shift or 1,200 per day!

Obviously, we don't have enough volunteers to staff this ourselves. At best we could run one clinic all by ourselves for two shifts-a-day. And that's if we brought lots of friends to help!

Nevertheless, when the time comes (I am no longer thinking "if" in terms of public health emergencies), I am betting we will have all the volunteers we need. They will come, if not out of the woodwork, out of churches, schools, and other volunteer sources.

But these volunteers will all have one thing in common: No training.

That means the volunteers we train in advance, such as ARES®/ACS/CERT members, will need to train and then manage the convergent volunteers that appear when we need their help.

That subtly changes how we train our own people. Our folks need to know not just how to set-up an emergency clinic, but how to manage it, and train the other volunteers who will do all the non-medical work, such as registering people, organizing supplies, maintaining order, etc.

If all we create are good followers, "do as you're told" volunteers, we don't have a chance of success. We need volunteers trained to, as the military puts it, "take charge and move out."

You don't even need a complex assignment, like managing vaccination clinics, to require your volunteers to have management training. All you need is a mutual aid incident.

If a bunch of mutual aid ARES® members are headed for your county, someone is going to have to get them organized, equipped (if necessary), signed-in, staged, dispatched to their assignments, etc. That means your local folks may spend a lot of their time getting the out-of-towners positioned to actually do the work that needs to be done.

In my county, the worst disaster we plan for is a big earthquake or other emergency in San Francisco that sends us thousands and thousands of urban refugees. We're sixty miles out from SF and a major staging area for Bay Area relief efforts, which will also need our support. See where this is headed? Mayhem that can only be controlled if we train for it.

So, let me thank you in advance for all the help we're going to need in such an emergency. But, to be ready for all the help that will arrive, our members have to be able to manage the stampede.

There is a corollary to this management story: Our folks also need to know how to be a good mutual aid resource if sent to help somewhere else. But, that's for another discussion. In the meantime, think about your members as being managers when your "big one" -- whatever it may be -- hits. -- David Coursey, N5FDL, EC, San Joaquin County, California. His emcomm blog is

Radio Club d'Haiti Receives Repeater from ARRL and Radio Club Dominicano

As part of the relief efforts after the earthquake in Haiti, the ARRL -- through its Ham Aid Program -- with the help of IARU Region 2 and the Radio Club Dominicano (RCD), delivered a Vertex VXR-7000 repeater to the Radio Club d'Haiti. This repeater, part of the original equipment sent by the ARRL during the devastating Haitian earthquakes in January 2010, will help with radio communications coverage in that devastated nation. Both the Radio Club Dominicano and the Radio Club d'Haiti are IARU Member-Societies.

The repeater was originally sent by the ARRL to members of the RCD who were helping to provide communications support in Haiti following the earthquake. Earlier this month, Doug Lapin, K1OY, the Dominican Republic's Ambassador Accredited to the Secretary of State of Foreign Relations, delivered the repeater to Radio Club d' Haiti President Jean-Robert Gaillard, HH2JR. According to Lapin, the repeater will be linked to other repeaters on the island nation, building a new nationwide Amateur Radio network.

The Ham Aid Fund was created in 2005 in response to the need for equipment and resources to support the Amateur Radio response to Hurricanes Katrina, Rita and Wilma. Ham Aid equipment is available on loan to Amateur Radio organizations during disaster response when communications equipment is unavailable. The ARRL Ham Aid Fund is supported by businesses, manufacturers and individual financial contributions. If you are interested in contributing to the Ham Aid Fund, please contact ARRL Chief Development Officer Mary Hobart, K1MMH, via e-mail or by phone at (860) 594-0307. -ARRL Letter


Twitter for Alerting?

I have requested a quote from the One Call Now company that you mentioned in the January issue of the ARES® E-Letter. Are you aware of any ARES® groups using Twitter for alerting? One of my members recently suggested it, but I couldn't find anything with a quick search so I thought that I would ask you. Once I get that quote I will be getting in touch with our membership as well as polling to see who's on Twitter -- I bet most of my members are not. -- Jeff Dovyak, VE4MBQ, Emergency Coordinator, Winnipeg ARES®

Tabletops in Colorado

Since 2006, O.M.E.G.A. has worked table top exercises to full scale exercises for the Colorado North Central Region All Hazards District involving a number of our ARES® Districts. We are participating in an exercise with FEMA Region VIII's DICE 2011. Mile High D.I.C.E. 2011 is an exercise to allow agencies to discuss and validate Agency continuity plans and capabilities after a series of Improvised Explosive Device (IED) detonations along the Colorado Front Range Area causes agencies to activate their respective Continuity Plans. OMEGA's portion of the exercise is titled Operation Snake Eyes. For more info, please see our Web site:- Dave Cook, KC0MHT, RMMC 70 Weather Spotter: D-12 OMEGA

Transmitting the ICS-213 Form

I noted some discussion in the December ARES® E-Letter regarding the issue of transmitting the ICS-213 form. Here's how I explain it to radio amateurs:

When you ship a package via UPS, FEdEx, etc. you've addressed the package. The shippers will place some additional labeling information on your package, however; such things as tracking numbers, routing codes, etc. This is for their audit trail.

The same is true for the 213 form if it must go via relay. If you're sending it directly to the site where it will be received and handled, by all means, send the 213 form raw. But, if your station isn't Winlink equipped, an attachment isn't an option.

If it must be handled via a relay, and that's *any* intermediate step between you and the receiving location by all means append that radiogram header information, i.e. number, precedence, handling instructions, call sign of originator, group count, place of origin, time and date filed. For best results, and to alleviate confusion, use local time and date. But, if you use UTC make sure the UTC date corresponds with UTC time.

The radiogram information allows those intermediate stations to provide proper tracking control. The 213 in its raw form is an interoffice speed memo, and does not contain information to enable proper tracking through a system of relays. If you ask me to relay that information, or any information via manual modes, i.e. voice or cw, then to adequately provide the accountability you *must* have that seemingly irrelevant radiogram information gives me, and you, the tools we must have. -- Richard Webb, NF5B, Chair, ARRL NTS Central Area Staff

Training Suggestion: IS-317, IS-324

After reading your latest newsletter on training, I would like to suggest IS-317 (CERT) and IS-324 (Community Hurricane Preparedness). CERT gives a lot of good knowledge on self-survival for the first 72 hours of a disaster. Taking the course online though does not give you the hands-on CPR training, etc. I also took the CERT training here so I could get the hands-on training. ICS-324 is for the Emergency Manager, but it also helps to understand the decisions he or she has to make. It explains how the NWS works with EM in trying to make sound decisions. -- John T. Fleming, W3GQJ, The Villages, Florida

Large EmComm Exercise in Georgia a Cooperative Effort

An emcomm exercise conducted by the Cherokee County, Georgia, ARES® group, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, and a significant number of clubs throughout the Atlanta, Georgia North Metro area took place Saturday, January 15. It was the first exercise of this type or magnitude ever conducted in the state. There were more than 113 check-ins recorded during the drill, encompassing 16 counties. During the previous week Atlanta was crippled by a massive snow and ice storm, which served as the backdrop for the exercise.

Net schedules were formulated, repeater coordination and permissions for use were secured and net control operators were designated. Coordination with the LDS Church Bishops Central Storehouse (K4BCS) was a major focus. Finalization of all net schedules took place and the Friday afternoon e-mail notification was sent out to the participating ham groups. Five repeater clubs across Atlanta granted use of their repeaters for the exercise and were participating. In total, the drill involved five coordinated, simultaneous nets all working together and checking in on a schedule with the LDS Church Bishops Central Storehouse located in Tucker, Georgia.

Repeaters weren't the only communication conduits. Simplex was used on one net to test its effectiveness. Taking it a level lower, some neighborhoods having ham operators activated an FRS calling tree making contacts with unlicensed residents and even, in some cases, sending runners out to get face to face contact with members that did not have access to radios of any kind. This went a long way towards adding realism. A few direct EchoLink check-ins to one net control operator also took place.

One Church unit tested an emergency preparedness plan and established a command center as part of that plan. They, as part of their operations test, formulated a simulated casualty and loss message that was transmitted and verified with the Tucker location.

The drill was so successful that several organizations are calling for a six month interval for similar tests. -- Jim Alderdice, N1ABM, Woodstock, Georgia

ARRL Partners' News Roundup

American Red Cross

Winter Storms Wreaking Havoc Again (February 9, 2011)

APCO International

APCO Releases ANSI Approved Minimum Training Standards For Public Safety Telecommunicators (February 9, 2011)

Civil Air Patrol

Texas unit stages successful balloon launch, retrieval (January 21, 2011)


FEMA encourages all Councils and CERT Programs to register in the new National Registries. The registries collect and display contact information for each Program and Council making it easier for individuals to learn more about safety and security in their community and get involved in local activities. To learn more about Citizen Corps, click HERE. To learn more about CERT, click HERE.

International Association for Radio, Telecommunications and Electromagnetics

Workshop on High Power Electromagnetic (HPEM) Threats - High Altitude Electromagnetic Pulse (HEMP) and Intentional Electromagnetic Interference (IEMI) to be held March 14-15, 2011, Chicago, Illinois

National Communications System

The SHARES (Shared Resources) High Frequency Radio program is charged with promoting interoperability between High Frequency radio systems used by the Federal departments and agencies.


National Level Exercise 2011 (May 16-20, 2011) -- The purpose of National Level Exercise 2011 (NLE 2011) is to prepare and coordinate a multiple-jurisdictional integrated response to a national catastrophic event - specifically a major earthquake in the central United States region of the New Madrid Seismic Zone (NMSZ).

NLE 2011 will involve thousands of government officials at the federal, state, local and tribal levels, members of the private sector, and the general public. Participants will conduct simultaneous, related exercise activities at command posts, emergency operation centers and other locations in the Washington D.C. area and the eight affected central U.S. states (Alabama, Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Missouri, and Tennessee).


While REACT has been associated primarily with Citizens Band in the past, the organization has widened its focus to embrace amateur and other services. ARRL and REACT share common goals in terms of emergency communication.

Salvation Army

The Salvation Army ALM Division Ready As Winter Weather Approaches. Once again, much of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi are bracing for frozen precipitation and The Salvation Army is preparing to respond. As sub-freezing temperatures settle in across the region, The Salvation Army is expanding shelter capacity. (February 9, 2011).

Society of Broadcast Engineers

SBE at the 2011 NAB Show (February 3, 2011). The Society of Broadcast Engineers has been NAB's organizational partner for the presentation of the NAB Broadcast Engineering Conference (BEC) since 1995. Following previous years, this year's BEC will be the largest and most comprehensive broadcast technical conference in the world. The conference begins with the SBE Ennes Workshop on Saturday, April 9 and ends on Thursday, April 14.

SKYWARN Training on St. John a Win-Win for Island and Forecasters

It always helps to have eyes on the ground. A SKYWARN training session, hosted last year by local St. John hams and presented by representatives of NOAA and the National Weather Service, will help forecasters fill a critical void in on-the-ground weather information from this small, tropical US Virgin Island - a gateway for weather traveling to Puerto Rico and westward. St. John's unique geographic location - being the eastern-most part of the United States Virgin Islands and resting on the edge of FAA radar located in San Juan - makes on-the-ground weather information critical and necessary for accurate forecasting. "There is no accurate way to tell if there is a waterspout just off shore, or just how intense rain and other aspects of storms are on St. John by looking at current data," said Robert Mitchell, Lead Forecaster from the NWS in San Juan, one of the presenters at the training. Mitchell was joined by Althea Austin - Smith, senior hydrologist with NWS and NOAA, who toured the island before the training session looking at areas currently impacted by flooding and landslide during heavy rains.

The St. John SKYWARN session was the culmination of four years of effort by St. John Amateur Radio Club member George Cline KP2G, and Club President Paul Jordan NP2JF. "With severe weather crossing from one country to another, and moving from island to island each day, cohesion in reporting and collection of weather data is critical to local public safety," said Jordan, who is also a member of St. John Rescue and St. John ARES®. "We had the training session set up several times, only to have it postponed, largely due to budget. We were eager to get the National Weather Service training here to help residents and visitors better prepare for and respond to weather events, and to help local forecasters," said Jordan, NP2JF.

Part of the unique challenge here is that, unlike areas in the contiguous 48 states where radar often overlaps to provide several views of a given area, St. John is only seen on the edge of the San Juan radar. With weather radar angled to avoid picking up ground objects, that degree above the earth becomes more elevated at the outer circumference of the radar, sometimes missing lower-lying clouds or other weather-related features. This is what makes the need for on-the-ground weather watchers so critical. More than a dozen attendees took part in the training including members of the St. John Amateur Radio Club, St. John Rescue (an all-volunteer emergency first-responder group), representatives of the Transportation Safety Administration from St. Thomas international airport, and the St. Thomas Amateur Radio Club. Weather watchers were provided with direct contact numbers and e-mail addresses for reporting severe weather events to the National Weather Service in San Juan, PR. - Phyllis Benton, NP2MZ, ARRL Public Information Officer, US Virgin Islands Section News

ARRL International Humanitarian Award Goes to EmComm Op

Ron Tomo, KE2UK, of North Bellmore, New York, is the recipient of the 2010 ARRL International Humanitarian Award. Tomo's life exemplified Public Service through Amateur Radio, from providing phone patches during the Vietnam War, and providing communications support during 9/11 with MARS and the United States Service Command, as well as serving in the US Coast Guard Auxiliary as a Communications Officer where he played a pivotal role during Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

During the Haitian earthquake in January 2010, Tomo -- at his own expense -- served with a team of doctors, providing communication support between the on-site doctors and the hospital in Miami. According to Jack Satterfield, W4GRJ -- one of his many nominators -- Tomo provided critical communication links at multiple levels, "from coordinating helicopter relief to a stranded village, to handling emergency evacuations to the nearby USS Comfort hospital ship. Ron even provided the extra hands needed to hold flashlights at the operating table when the power went out at night. He went on a rescue mission to help carry stretchers, bringing back patients to their facility. Ron has a polio-inflicted disability which never seemed to slow him down; however, in the dark and confusing night while carrying a stretcher, he missed a step and took a pretty bad fall. He needed medical attention, but Ron was adamant about seeing to the other patients before himself. His efforts while in Haiti were undoubtedly and directly attributable in the saving of so many lives."

ARRL New York City/Long Island Section Manager Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, concurred: "At his own expense -- about $10,000 -- Ron purchased more than 15 new radios and added others from his massive collection which he used to set up a tactical network in a tent hospital. This network proved to be a lifesaving setup where Ron was personally credited by the doctors in his tent hospital for saving at least eight lives and helping hundreds more due to his ability to find hospitals to handle the patients who had been triaged and stabilized. Ron gave out his radios to several people and hospitals, thereby giving his hospital both incoming and outgoing communications to expedite the transport and intake of new patients." -- ARRL

ARES® Staff Changes

New Indiana Section Emergency Coordinator

Tony Langer, W9AL, has departed the Indiana Section staff as of December, 2010, with thanks for his four years of service. The new SEC is Joseph Lawrence, K9RFZ. In setting his initial priorities, Lawrence centered on ARES® net topics: "I think the ARES® Net should be used to discuss recent ARES® policy changes, significant lessons learned from public service events or emergency exercises, problems the EC faced and how he or she solved them, and problems the EC faces and wants suggestions for solving."

"Some issues need more discreet one on one consideration, but most EC's face similar problems of team participation, EMA cooperation, etc," Lawrence said. "What works in one team may work fine for others. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, EC's need more opportunities to share ideas. I'd run the net more like a corporate staff meeting. Each member is expected to discuss recent issues, actions, and plans forward. I think it's also useful for the general ARES® team member to hear and participate in these discussions." -- John Poindexter, W3ML, Indiana Section Manager

Alabama Searches for New SEC

Spencer Edwards, KZ4J, has resigned as Alabama Section Emergency Coordinator. Edwards' recovery from a number of surgeries over the past months has taken longer than expected and due to health concerns he has stepped down. He is hopeful that he will be able to return in some capacity in the future. Alabama Section officials wish Edwards a speedy recovery, and thanked him for his work as SEC.

The search has begun to seek a replacement for the Section Emergency. -- David M. Drummond, W4MD, Alabama Section Manager

K1CE For a Final

It has been an extremely difficult winter for many parts of the country, with probably countless ARES activations conducted in severe environments. I am looking for reports on how operators worked under these conditions

Editor Rick Palm, K1CE

of cold, snow and ice for educational purposes in future newsletters. Please send brief accounts and observations to your editor. Thanks! See you next month!

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