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ARES Letter Issues

The ARES Letter
March 21, 2018
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE

In This Issue:


ARES Briefs, Links

Radio Amateurs Pitch In to Help as "Hat Trick" of Major Coastal Storms Hit Northeast (3/20/18) -- Amateur Radio volunteers with WX1BOX at the National Weather Service in Taunton, Massachusetts, and various ARES groups had their hands full during March, as Mother Nature's hat trick of nor'easters brought severe weather conditions and a lot of snow to the northeastern US. The storms caused the Cape Cod ARES team to extend activations for SKYWARN, WX1BOX, and regional shelter operations. "This has been a very active period of significant severe weather for the region after a relatively quiet stretch from late January through the end of February," observed Rob Macedo, KD1CY, the Eastern Massachusetts Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator for SKYWARN. [Click on the link above to read the full report.]

Other News:

MARS Team Provides HF and Amateur Radio Communication Training on USNS Mercy (3/02/18)

ARRL Seeks Emergency Communications Course EC-001 Mentors (3/15/18)

Puerto Rico/Red Cross Mission "Force of Fifty" Member Named Hamvention® 2018 "Amateur of the Year"

The Dayton Hamvention® Awards Committee selected Valerie Hotzfeld, NV9L, of Crescent City, Illinois, as the 2018 "Amateur of the Year." First licensed in 2006, Hotzfeld has been active in ARES®. In 2017, she traveled to Texas after Hurricane Harvey to help rescue small animals. Hotzfield was subsequently deployed to Puerto Rico with the American Red Cross for 3 weeks as part of a group of volunteer Amateur Radio operators, facilitating critical communications after Hurricane Maria.

"Serving the Community" is Theme for Hamvention® 2018

The venerable Dayton Hamvention is May 18-20 this year, at the Greene County Fairgrounds, Ohio. The theme is "Serving the Community," and numerous forums related to public service will be scheduled. Many will be of special interest to ARES members. The ARRL is offering a Public Service track of programs on Friday and Saturday.

"Getting Started in Public Service Communications," an introduction to public service communication training and emergency preparedness, will take place on Friday at 9:15 AM, moderated by Ken Bailey, K1FUG, the ARRL Emergency Preparedness Assistant and Continuing Education Program Administrator.

"Building Partnerships," with ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, and FEMA Community Partners Specialist, External Affairs, Sarah Byrne as co-presenters, will begin at 11:50 AM on Friday. Acknowledging that collaborative and mutually beneficial partnerships are key to successful disaster and emergency response, this session will explore how Amateur Radio public service groups rely on such partnerships when serving their communities. Corey and Byrne will address how to build and grow partnerships of different levels of complexity across a wide range of interests and organizations -- from Voluntary Organizations Active in Disasters (VOADs), to other nonprofits and commercial entities.

For forum updates, check the Dayton Hamvention® website frequently. See you in May at Dayton!

National Hurricane Conference Note: Amateur Radio Session is 10:30 AM Next Tuesday

The National Hurricane Conference will be held next week at the Hilton Orlando, Florida, 6001 Destination Parkway. A robust agenda of meetings and seminars will be conducted, with the Amateur Radio Workshop on Tuesday, March 27, at 10:30 AM, not 1:30 PM as reported in last month's issue. The theme of the workshop is Tropical Systems and Disaster Communications.

There are numerous other sessions and programs of interest to radio amateurs that will be held over the course of the week. For a daily meeting agenda, and descriptions of seminars, click here.

The Amateur Radio Session presenters and attendees will discuss involvement when tropical systems impact coastal areas of the Atlantic and cover the historic Amateur Radio response to the impacts from Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria on the Caribbean Islands, US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico including the ARRL "Force of Fifty" mission. Representatives and presentations are expected from the National Hurricane Center, WX4NHC (the National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio station), the Hurricane Watch Net, the VoIP Hurricane Net, the Canadian Hurricane Centre, the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) and ARRL HQ. A moderated Q & A session will be conducted also.

Amateur Radio presentations will be recorded and live streamed via Youtube. Livestream links below:
ARRL Board of Directors' Actions, Reports on ARES Enhancement

The policymakers of the ARRL met in January, passing a number of actions of interest to ARES and other public service operators. The Board awarded the ARRL International Humanitarian Award to 2017 hurricane operators, noting the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season was one of the harshest in recent memory, especially in the Caribbean islands including the ARRL Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands Sections and that the local Amateur Radio licensees in the area were pressed into immediate service before and during the devastating storms. The Board recognized the efforts of the local Amateur communities continue to support the relief and recovery efforts even now, with ARRL leadership in each section continuing to perform extraordinary service. The Board conferred the award jointly on the local Amateur Radio population of Puerto Rico, served by ARRL Section Manager Oscar Resto, KP4RF; and the local Amateur Radio population of the US Virgin Islands, served by ARRL Section Manager Fred Kleber, K9VV.

The Board also noted that radio amateurs across Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the Caribbean islands, south Florida and Texas, performed outstanding service during the hurricane season for their communities, friends, and families with thousands of hours spent providing critical support communications. The ARRL Board of Directors recognized their outstanding work and service, commending them all.

Update on Public Service Enhancement Group Efforts to Enhance ARES Program

ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK, as chairman, presented an update on the current work of the Programs and Services Committee's Public Service Enhancement Working Group and entertained discussion. The working group is currently developing a series of guidelines that will become part of the ARES program. The ARES registration service for groups across the country is up and running with over 400 groups registered in the first few weeks since its activation. During its deliberations, the working group solicited input from topic experts across the country as well as several ARRL Section Managers. A peer review group of experts continues to be involved in this project. Organizing a better system of communication with the field organization will be an emphasis of the PSEWG moving forward. -- ARRL

Florida County Honors its ARES Group

Recently, the Osceola County, Florida, Board of County Commissioners proclaimed February 12-18, 2018 as Osceola County Amateur Radio Emergency Services Week. The county is in central Florida near the Orlando area, and has some 270,000 residents. Osceola County ARES has been providing communications assistance

Osceola County (FL) recognizes the value of its ARES group. L to r, Commission Chairman Fred Hawkins; Joe Reilly, N4ZIQ, EC; Randy Fox, K9YAP, AEC; Deborah Chapman, KK4TRX; Joe Connery, AK4UJ; Stephen Watts, Director of Osceola County Emergency Management; Richard Halquist, KG4FZO, Manager, Osceola County Emergency Management; Daniel Tohorton, Officer, Osceola County Emergency Management; Ursula Evans, Administrative Secretary, Osceola County Emergency Management. (photo courtesy N4ZIQ)

to the county since at least 1998 when the area was hit by devastating tornadoes. Through this proclamation, the Board expressed their appreciation for all the support and assistance ARES has provided over the decades, in times of need. Readers can view the presentation by the following link. It is toward the beginning of the meeting, within the first few minutes. -- Joe Reilly, N4ZIQ, ARRL ARES Osceola County Emergency Coordinator

Media Hits: Emergency Communications in Rural Maine

Two segments that were broadcast on WABI TV (Bangor, Maine) have been receiving much interest in the largely rural state. The second segment covers the Amateur Radio community's contribution to emergency management's radio communications needs, and cites the efforts of Karl Richards, KB1YCF, and Richard (Beau) Beausoleil, N1REX, in particular. Click on the following links to view. -- Thanks, Steve Hansen, KB1TCE, ARRL Maine Section Emergency Coordinator

Emergency Communications in Rural Maine -- Segment One

Emergency Communications in Rural Maine -- Segment Two

2018 National Preparedness Symposium Will Promote Whole Community Preparedness Through Unity of Effort

FEMA's Emergency Management Institute (EMI) will host the 2018 National Preparedness Symposium from May 21-24. The symposium provides federal, state, tribal, territorial, and nongovernmental training and exercise officials the opportunity to discuss current and future training and exercise programs and to share case studies, lessons-learned, and smart practices. The theme is "promoting whole community preparedness through unity of effort," with a focus on promoting a culture of preparedness.

The goal of the symposium is to provide the tools, knowledge, and network to improve training and exercise programs that build and sustain capabilities for a more secure and resilient nation. Attendees will have the opportunity to identify at least one element they would like to implement, modify, or validate in their training and exercise program, and they will take away workable improvements that can be used immediately and successfully. The symposium also provides a platform to communicate changes to current capabilities and introduce new FEMA policy.

The event will be held at the National Emergency Training Center, Emmitsburg, Maryland. Applications for registration must be received by April 9, 2018. To apply and for more information, visit or contact the EMI National Training Liaison Dan Lubman at

Letters: Clarification on NIMS, IS Course Changes Last Issue

In your article in last month's issue, "Letters: NIMS Updated - IS Core Courses to be Revised; AUXCOMM, COMT Courses", there is a discussion of the US Department of Homeland Security-Office of Emergency Communication (DHS-OEC) AuxComm course, Communications Unit training and the OEC-developed COMT (Communications Technician) course. The article then offers "Some 2018 dates for COMT, COML courses." Your link takes the reader to the NWCG (National Wildfire Coordinating Group) COMT classes, not the DHS-OEC classes. The NWCG COMT is not the same as the DHS-OEC COMT, and is generally not open to Amateur Radio operators off the street. (The NWCG COMT course has some prerequisites and generally requires a nomination from a fire or law enforcement agency.) --Thanks, Jim Rooney, N4JJR, District Emergency Coordinator, ARES (Douglas and Elbert Counties, Colorado); Douglas County Incident Management Team (NWCG INCM, COMT, COML-t, and All-Hazards COML-t); Colorado Team 1 (COMT), Jefferson County All-Hazards Incident Management Team; Rocky Mountain Type 2 Blue Team (COML-t)

DHS-OEC COMT Position and Course

The All-Hazards Communications Technician (COMT) Course introduces public safety professionals and support staff to various communications concepts and technologies. This includes interoperable communications solutions, Land Mobile Radio (LMR) communications, satellite, telephone, computer and data technologies used in incident response and planned events. Participants receive core competencies required for performing the duties of the COMT in an all-hazards incident. The course is instructor-led training that supports learning through discussion, lecture, and active participation in multiple exercises. The course provides a realistic, hands-on approach to mastering the tasks and skills of a COMT. It is designed for local, regional, tribal and state/territory emergency response professionals and support personnel in all disciplines who have a technical communications background. The five day (40 hour) workshop is taught by experienced instructors who have both practitioner and Communications Unit experience. The course features facilitated lectures, student exercises, and hands-on lab work to explain processes used for successful establishment and operation of the technical communications resources supporting an incident or planned event. Prerequisites include a public safety background with experience in field operations; basic public safety communications technology knowledge; knowledge of local communications systems, frequencies, spectrum, plans, and contacts; completion of FEMA Independent Study courses IS-100b, IS-200b, IS-700a, and IS-800b; and a supervisor's recommendation. Workshops are limited to 15 attendees.

Contact your local, county and state emergency management agencies, especially their education and training departments, for possible COMT course offerings in your area.

InfraGard: ARES Collaborates with FBI in Los Angeles

ARES members in the ARRL Los Angeles (California) Section are being invited to join InfraGard, a public-private partnership managed by the FBI with the purpose of sharing information concerning protection of our nation's critical infrastructure. Communications is one of those critical elements, and ARES is recognized as playing an important role.

Applicants for InfraGard membership will undergo an FBI background investigation and, once cleared, will receive a membership document, regular e-mailed security briefings, access to the secure InfraGard Internet site and invitations to a variety of training sessions. (The passing of the background check may incidentally prove useful in a variety of served-agency engagements where absence of a background check might otherwise delay or preclude ARES member involvement).

InfraGard membership is not mandatory, but ARES leadership encourages all members to consider submitting applications.

Membership in InfraGard Los Angeles

The InfraGard vetted membership consists of thousands of subject matter experts across 16 critical infrastructure sectors. Members are from business, academia, government, law enforcement and the military, dedicated to support the mission and protection of the nation's critical infrastructure.

Members gain an understanding of the threats posed by criminals and foreign adversaries, and receive information and tools consistent with the most current best practices. Applications are accepted online only. For more information, click here. -- ARRL Los Angeles Section News


ARES Annual/Monthly Reports can be found here, organized by date, with a link to download a PDF of the full report.

Archives of the ARRL ARES E-Letter going back to the original issue (September 2005) are available for download.

2017 ARES Annual Report

The 2017 ARES Annual Report is now available online. Last year showed a continued trend in improved reporting with 87% of ARRL Sections submitting at least one report during the calendar year. There were a few changes to reporting last year. First, new forms were used. ARRL Field Service staff standardized the current field organization forms to make back end processing easier. Second, severe weather and SKYWARN activations were put into their own category. And third, the value of a volunteer hour was updated; the new value of a volunteer hour is $24.14.


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