November 16, 2011Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
In This Issue
The week of August 22, 2011 may go down in weather history as one of the strangest in the Washington, DC area : On Tuesday, August 23, our area was hit with a magnitude 5.8 earthquake. I'm sure the quake took everyone by surprise. It sure surprised me. Damage was light, but widespread, including what looks like about 25 million dollars done to the National Cathedral, and an as-yet undetermined amount of damage to the Washington Monument, which remains closed. There was significant damage to the building housing the ham shack at the Armed Forces Retirement Home in Washington, DC. That is not good news for the Marine Corps Marathon radio operators.
Immediately after the earthquake, many cell phone systems buckled under the load of everyone trying to call everyone else. In College Park, Maryland, where I work, even the wire line phones had some problems.
Prince Georges County ARESÂ® activated a resource net on the local repeater to marshal radio resources in case of need. We stood by for about six hours, but as the evening wore on, we ended the net as it became clear that normal communications were working again.
The following Saturday night, Hurricane Irene passed just east of the area. The County Government activated the EOC at 4 PM Saturday and called for RACES and ARES communications support for storm shelters in the southern end of the county. RACES operators under the leadership of RACES Radio Officer Ken Greenhouse, KB3IIE, and ARES Emergency Coordinator Jim Montgomery, WB3KAS, deployed to two shelters, one at the Baden VFD and one at the Bunker Hill VFD. As the evening wore on, power failed at the Baden shelter and the generator there failed to start. We provided communications as the Red Cross redeployed the shelter to the Brandywine VFD during the storm.
RACES operators established HF and VHF radio communications with the State and adjacent county ARES/RACES groups. As the peak of the storm passed at about 2 AM, a large tree fell across the utility lines at the entrance to the EOC property cutting off electric power, Internet and land line phones as well as the cable TV to the facility. It took the county more than one hour to get the generator at the EOC to stay on-line. Of course no one could come into or leave the EOC complex because the tree was blocking the entrance.
Once the generator did come on-line, we discovered that the generator does not provide power to the EOC radio room. All of the radios there were useless without AC or DC power. Meanwhile, I maintained contact with the shelters thanks to my trusty Yaesu HT and the Green Mountain Repeater Association's 146.61 MHz repeater. The repeater worked flawlessly through the night and we maintained communications for the Red Cross personnel at the EOC and in the shelters until the shelters were secured late Sunday morning.
The county fire personnel started calling it "HurriQuake 2011." Not many ARES/RACES groups can say that they had to contend with an earthquake and a hurricane in one week.
Special thanks to the Green Mountain Repeater Association for the continued great support and the use of the .61 repeater. We literally could not have done it without them and their machine. - Spence Spencer, NX3SS, AEC for Operations, Prince Georges County Maryland ARES
Agreement Inked Between ARRL East Bay Section and Bay Area Red Cross
ARRL Section Manager Jim Latham, AF6AQ, has announced the formal signing of a local Statement of Cooperation between the ARRL East Bay Section and the Bay Area Chapter of the American Red Cross. "This is a significant step as we rebuild the ARESÂ® program in the Section. We now have a served agency that recognizes ARES locally and that is recognized by ARES," Latham said in a statement.
The local Statement of Cooperation supplements the national Memorandum of Understanding between the American Red Cross and the ARRL that has been in effect since March, 2010 and anticipates increased local familiarity and cooperation between the two entities. A copy of the document will be made available for review on the East Bay Section Web site.
Latham added: "It is now more important than ever that we be able to exhibit that we are professional-quality, well-equipped, and well-trained Amateur Radio operators. To this end, we will be implementing on-line local ARES registration so that we will have an up-to-date listing of the Section's members and leaders. We will also be implementing training and education programs sponsored by the Section to ensure a common, minimum level of training for members and leaders alike. Look for additional changes and progress as we organize and build the ARES program in the Section." [Jim Latham, AF6AQ, is Section Manager, ARRL East Bay Section; and Emergency Communication Advisory Committee Representative - Pacific Division].
Detroit Marathon Supported By 60 Operators
The Detroit Free Press/Talmer Bank Marathon, held in Detroit, Michigan on October 16, 2011, was supported by 60 radio amateurs from two countries. The communications effort was organized by the Wayne County Amateur Radio Public Service Corp, which has supported the event for nearly its entire history. This event is used as part of Wayne County ARPSC's ongoing training regimen.
Wayne County ARPSC coordinated ARES members from Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Monroe counties and partnered with Windsor, Ontario, Canada hams, from their Amateur Radio Community Service (ARCS), to support the world's only marathon that includes a certified underwater mile. The course features two water crossings, one across the Ambassador Bridge and one through the Detroit Windsor Tunnel, with the underwater mile spanning the Detroit River.
Amateur Radio provided health and welfare communications support to more than 20,000 Marathon participants as well as more than 2,000 volunteers. The event employed multiple controlled nets that relayed priority medical traffic, course logistical traffic, and security coordination as well as spectator assistance. The end result helped facilitate a world class event that included two international border crossings that would not have been possible without partnership between ARES and the ARCS ham operators from the US and Canada. -- Doug Scoda, KD8PKI, Westland, Michigan
Wisconsin ARES/RACES Conference: Mutual Aid Theme
"Mutual Aid: Being There for Each Other" served as the theme of the 2011 Wisconsin ARES/RACES Conference held in Wisconsin Rapids on October 22, with 79 present. ARRL Section Emergency Coordinator Gary Sorensen, W9ULK, served as facilitator of the conference. Former SEC Bill Niemuth, KB9ENO, reported on an organization that is building a statewide linked repeater system, while Section Manager Don Michalski, W9IXG, presented the DEC of the Year award to Ed Jacobsen, KB9KJE, immediate past DEC for the Northwest District. Howard Fischer, KC9IVJ, Juneau County EC, won the EC of the Year award.
Stan Kaplan, WB9RQR, updated the group on the Wisconsin ARES/RACES Winlink Net, and on the free computer distribution program he runs. [Kaplan has distributed 600 computers to various ARES/RACES groups over the past 17 years.] Sauk County EC Drew Smith, KC9LJK, gave a talk on using social media in the ARES/RACES program, and Steve Sell, former Administrator of Wisconsin Emergency Management talked on "We Need YOU" - how important ARES/RACES is to the Emergency Management Program in the state.
Wisconsin Northeast DEC Dave Levorson, N9KNY, ran a session with input from attendees on "How Our Involvement in Emergency Response Has Changed Since 9/11 - YOUR Stories." Winnebago County EC Kyle Schaefer, KC9SDK, gave a presentation on how to approach "Taking Ham Radio into Your School" on working with primary and secondary school teachers and students to integrate ham radio into science programs.
Wisconsin Chief RACES Radio Officer Skip Sharpe, W9REL, spoke on why we must integrate ICS into ARES/RACES in order to become a credentialed part of the incident response team. Dan Lenz, KB9IME, Assistant SEC for Training talked about mutual aid and also conducted a review of the recent statewide SET (Simulated Emergency Test).
The Wisconsin ARES/RACES Web site has been revitalized through the efforts of a committee headed by Assistant SEC for Marketing and Recruiting Kathy Schramm, KB9UAZ, and Webmaster Richard Engel, K9RWE. Check out the Twitter Feeds shown on the home page for ARES/RACES and also from Ready Wisconsin, Wisconsin Emergency Management. Immediate alerting and messaging to the membership is possible by following the Twitter Feed and arranging for it to forward messages to a cell phone. -- reported by Stan Kaplan, WB9RQR and submitted with notes added by Gary Sorensen, W9ULK, SEC, Wisconsin ARES/RACES
ARES Youth Corps Coordinator Appointed in Ohio
The ARES Tenth District Youth Corps of Ohio is a team of volunteers with the mission to educate young people about not only ham radio but specifically ARES. Kevin Baxter KD8OPX, of Middlefield, Ohio, has been appointed to the post of ARES Tenth District Youth Corps Coordinator. Baxter is an active senior at Cardinal High School in Middlefield.
Matt Welch, W8DEC, District Emergency Coordinator for the ARES Tenth District, says "Kevin is a motivated individual with an evident passion for the hobby. Since passing the Technician class license in August 2010, he volunteers for many public service events throughout the year. Most recently, he helped WEBELOS Scouts from Cub Scout Pack 197 in Burton, Ohio operate the W8TEN station for Jamboree on the Air (JOTA)."
Baxter is a trained SKYWARN Spotter, and a member of the Warren Amateur Radio Association (WARA) and Lake Erie Amateur Radio Association (LEARA). - Matt Welch, W8DEC, District Emergency Coordinator, ARES Tenth District, Ohio Section,
Priority Use of Center of Activity Frequencies for Actual EmComms
Last month's issue included an item on the IARU Center of Activity Frequencies. It should be emphasized that any frequency on which ongoing emergency communications is underway needs to be protected.
In the course of the International Amateur Radio Union (IARU) consideration of the emergency Center of Activity Frequencies, members in 2008 noted that priority use of the frequencies is limited to times when there is an actual emergency in progress, and that they are available for regular amateur use at all other times. In 2009, the IARU Administrative Council when noting that all three regions have agreed on the Center of Activity Frequencies in the 15, 17 and 20 meter bands, namely, 21.360 MHz, 18.160 MHz and 14.300 MHz, also noted the GAREC09 Statement, while making no specific reference to the emergency Center of Activity Frequencies, called upon IARU member-societies, among others, "whenever emergency communications are being conducted on frequencies that propagate internationally, to use any available real-time communications channels, including but not limited to e-mail bulletins, web-sites, social networking and DX-clusters to draw the attention of the largest possible number of Amateur Radio operators to on-going emergency communications, in order to avoid interference with emergency traffic."
In short, amateurs should protect any frequency when it's actively being used for emergency communications. Otherwise the same standard applies to the Center of Activity frequencies as to any other amateur frequency: as stated in 97.101(b), "Each station licensee and each control operator must cooperate in selecting transmitting channels and in making the most effective use of the amateur service frequencies. No frequency will be assigned for the exclusive use of any station."
Plan Now to Attend National Hurricane Conference in March
The 2012 National Hurricane Conference, "the nation's forum for education and professional training in hurricane and disaster preparedness," will be held March 26-29 at the Hilton Orlando, Florida. A robust Amateur Radio presence and forums are always on tap.
The primary goal of the National Hurricane Conference is to improve hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation in order to save lives and property in the United States and the tropical islands of the Caribbean and Pacific. In addition, the conference serves as a national forum for federal, state and local officials to exchange ideas and recommend new policies to improve Emergency Management.
* Lessons Learned from Hurricane Strikes.
* State of the art programs worthy of emulation.
* New ideas being tested or considered.
* Information about new or ongoing assistance programs.
* The ABC's of hurricane preparedness, response, recovery and mitigation -- in recognition of the fact that there is a continual turnover of emergency management leadership and staff.
Letters: More New Technology in Minnesota
We deployed three new pieces of technology at the Medtronic Twin Cities Marathon held last month. We are already using Apple Â® iPad Â® tablets for medical tent patient checks linked to our Amateur Radio tracking system. We deployed an IP phone system between our hospital tent and the family medical information tent. We set up a pair of Ubiquiti Â® 5 GHz commercial grade WiFi link radios on a 1.4 mile non-line-of-sight path to one of the area EOCs from our data trailer. And finally, we ran three ICOM D-STAR ID-1 radios at the same time in our data trailer to three different area repeaters. This marks our fifth year of 100% reliable D-STAR performance in real world public service medical communications applications. -- Erik Westgard, NY9D, Director, Volunteer Medical Communications, Medtronic Twins Cities Marathon
Letters: FEMA Classes
I manage a large EMA organization. Most of our volunteers do not understand what constitutes "Emergency Management." As a result, we require IS-230 -- Fundamentals of Emergency Management for any certification level in all of our specialties. I recommend adding this course to your list so ARES operators will more fully understand the environment in which they work.
For an Amateur Radio operator who wants to do more than "hold a mic," I would also suggest trying to get into a COML III class, which requires IS-300. Keep up the good work. -- Garth Kennedy, W9KJ, Naperville, Illinois EMA
Recommended Training Courses for ARES Members
â¦ ARRL Introduction to Emergency Communication-Course #: EC-001. This is a revision of the former Emergency Communications Basic/Level 1 course. This on-line course is designed to provide basic knowledge and tools for any emergency communications volunteer. Prerequisites: ICS-100 (IS-100.b) (Introduction to the Incident Command System); and IS -700 (National Incident Management System). Also recommended, but not required, are: IS-250, Emergency Support Function 15 (ESF15), External Affairs; and IS-288, The Role of Voluntary Agencies in Emergency Management. The course covers: The Framework: How You Fit In; The Networks for Messages; Message Handling; What Happens When Called; Operations & Logistics; Safety & Survival; and What to Expect in Large Disasters.
â¦ Red Cross or AHA combined course in Adult CPR/First Aid/AED Basics
ARRL Michigan Section Combines Programs for Synergy
Michigan's Amateur Radio Public Service Corps (ARPSC) encompasses the Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES) and SKYWARN, the service provided in cooperation with the National Weather Service. ARES is activated for mostly any event where a communications need exists within the framework of the FCC rules. RACES is activated for an incident that the government sees a need for additional communications support. Generally, the Governor of a state or their duly appointed representative makes the call. It is a program administered by FEMA. SKYWARN is administered by the National Weather Service, of course. There are four National Weather Service sites in Michigan -- Detroit/White Lake, Grand Rapids, Gaylord and Marquette.
Michigan was one of the first if not the first state in the United States to recognize the need for Amateur Radio operators to be cross-trained in both ARES and RACES protocols. This aids the process of assistance provided in the sense that cross-trained individuals who start out activated as an ARES operator can just change hats and continue operations wearing the RACES hat as the situation evolves. This has worked very well, and is due in no small part to several individuals in the Eighth Region (Ohio and Michigan, in particular) and most especially to George Race, WB8BGY, former SEC, Section Manager and Great Lakes Division Director, as well as others.
The Michigan program's mission statement: "Develop the Michigan ARPSC Program in to a fully integrated communications team ready, willing and able to provide radio communications support to Public Service Agencies and the citizens of Michigan." - Michigan ARES, Dale Williams, WA8EFK, Section Manager
K1CE For a Final
It's Thanksgiving time, and in keeping with the theme of giving thanks, I am reproducing the open letter of thanks from New York City-Long Island Section Manager Mike Lisenco, N2YBB, to his ARES team and others in the aftermath of storm Irene. His letter is a gem -- sincere and heartfelt -- and I thought it deserved a wider audience. Enjoy!
"I hope that you are recovering from Hurricane Irene and that this finds you, your families, your property and your friends in good shape. Obviously and luckily, most of the Section weathered the storm without much damage.
"It's been ten years since Amateur Radio in New York City-Long Island has been asked to provide communications support for a wide-scale event. Yes, there have been minor activations of ARES during that time, but nothing on the magnitude of Irene. Over the years we in the amateur community have seen how hams around the world consistently provide help to their communities. And while Irene, thankfully, did not do the damage locally that we anticipated, we still were asked to support our community by providing assistance where and when needed.
"It's very hard maintaining interest in staying involved in local ARES, SKYWARN, and club groups participating in emergency communications when nothing is going on. Complacency sets in over time. And, understandably, how many "athons" can you participate in before you've had enough. In spite of this, when something does happen that warrants our participation, hams pour out of the woodwork offering their services.
"Having served as an ARES volunteer, DEC, SEC and now SM, I know how important it is to be recognized for the work we do. To that end, I want to issue a very public THANK YOU to those in the New York City-Long Island Section who offered their services and participated in the effort."
[For a list of the individual operators, clubs and teams that Mike compiled, click here]. See you next month! -- 73, Rick, K1CE, Flagler County, Florida