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ARES Letter Issues

The ARES Letter
May 15, 2019
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE


ARRL National Convention at Dayton Hamvention® Special Edition!

The spring classic Dayton Hamvention® starts Friday and ends Sunday, at the Greene County Fairgrounds and Expo Center, 120 Fairground Road, Xenia, Ohio. This year, the event is hosting the ARRL National Convention and Expo.

See the ARRL National Convention ARRL Expo Programs, Exhibits and floor plan here.

This is the first year a free mobile event app will help attendees navigate the extensive Hamvention program, activities, and exhibits from their personal smartphone or tablet. The app is a collaborative effort between ARRL and Dayton Hamvention, which allows attendees to find exhibitors and booths, forum schedules, and affiliated events.

Not-to-be missed forums of special interest for ARES members include the following:

Friday, 9:15 - 10:15, Room 4, SHARES HF Emergency Communications, moderator Ross Merlin, WA2WDT. SHARES is the SHAred RESources HF radio program managed by the US Department of Homeland Security to provide backup long-range communications, interoperability, and situational awareness for all levels of government, critical infrastructure and key resources providers, and national or regional disaster relief organizations; all on federal radio channels. Many SHARES radio operators are also Amateur Radio operators, and the application of the skills and knowledge learned in Amateur Radio to government emergency communications is invaluable. This presentation will include a description of the program mission and eligibility, and an open forum for SHARES members to discuss operations, policies, and the evolution of the program.

Friday, 10:25 - 11:25, Room 2, MARS Forum 2019, moderator Paul English, WD8DBY, Chief, Army MARS. Richard Duncan, WD5B, will discuss MARSRADIO and the Military Support Network in 2019. The Department of Defense uses HF phone patching daily. Duncan will present an update on the MARS Radio phone patch network and how you can support this effort. Dave Stapchuk, KD9XM, Chief of Air Force MARS since 2014, will present, as well as Mark Jensen, WA6MVT, who will discuss the upcoming NORTHCOM Communications Interoperability Exercise coming to Ohio later in June. Jensen will explain how Amateur Radio operators can become involved in this training opportunity.

Friday, 12:00 - 1:50, Room 1, Homeland Security Forum with moderator John Peterson from the DHS/OEC, on Auxiliary Communications (AUXCOMM) Train-the-Trainer (TtT), a new offering in the Technical Assistance (TA)/Statewide Communication Interoperability Plan (SCIP) Guide. Speakers will talk about a service offering help to states/territories in creating a self-sustaining AUXCOMM training program by providing instructor training to qualified COML personnel who have also successfully completed these courses: AUXCOMM Course, COML Course, COML Position Task Book (PTB), Formal Adult Education in Training Instruction, and has taken the most current versions of ICS 100C, 200B, 300, 400, 770B, and 800C, and has an FCC Amateur Radio license that has been held for at least three years.

Friday, 1:10 - 2:30, Room 2, National Weather Service Forum -- Working With Amateur Radio To Save Lives During Severe Weather with Brandon Peloquin, Warning Coordination Meteorologist, National Weather Service, Wilmington, Ohio. NOAA's Weather-Ready Nation initiative is about building community resilience in the face of increasing vulnerability to extreme weather and water events. To achieve this, the National Weather Service (NWS) strives to develop and strengthen partnerships with those who contribute to this initiative. This presentation will describe the partnership between Amateur Radio operators and the NWS and how they work together to help communities be better prepared for severe weather.

ARRL Public Service Communications Forum Friday Afternoon

Friday, 2:25 - 3:40, Room 3, ARRL Public Service Communications: Panel Discussion will be a chance to hear from representatives from Amateur Radio's largest organizations active during times of disaster and emergency. An update will also be given on the new ARES Plan and changes that were asked for by volunteers and partner agencies on training, reporting, identification, leadership development, and more. Sponsored by ARRL, this forum will feature Rob Macedo, KD1CY, VOIP WX Net and VOIP Hurricane Net; Paul English, WD8DBY, US Army MARS; David Stapchuk, KD9DXM, US Air Force MARS; Bill Feist, WB8BZH, SATERN; Ross Merlin, WA2WDT, Department of Homeland Security, SHAred RESources (SHARES); Ted Okada, K4HNL, Chief Technology Officer, FEMA; and Malcolm Kyser, KG4G, Chief of Communications, Civil Air Patrol.

ARRL National Convention Forum is Saturday at Noon - Not to be Missed

Saturday, 12:00 - 1:15, Room 3, ARRL Member Forum with Dale Williams, WA8EFK, ARRL Director -- Great Lakes Division and past Chairman of the Public Service Enhancement Working Group, which drafted the new ARES Plan. ARRL welcomes all members and friends to this 2019 ARRL National Convention, hosted by Hamvention. At this interactive session, you'll hear from national and regional ARRL officials on key areas of membership interest. Find out how ARRL supports dozens of ways to get involved, get active, and get on the air. Members and prospective members are all welcome.

Saturday, 11:45-1:00, Room 5, SATERN, with Bill Feist, WB8BZH, national SATERN Liaison for The Salvation Army. SATERN is the Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network. Bill has been a member of SATERN since 1994 and is currently the Divisional Emergency Disaster Services Disaster Liaison for the Alabama-Louisiana-Mississippi (ALM) Division. In his 24 years of service as a volunteer and staff member, Bill has participated in or led numerous responses by The Salvation Army to major fires, hazardous materials incidents, SWAT actions, tornados, floods, hurricanes and wild-land forest fires. He was also part of The Salvation Army response to the World Trade Center in New York in 2001. Feist is a Certified Emergency Manager (CEM) through the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM).

Saturday, 1:50 - 3:20, Room 2, AREDN Mesh Technology, with Andre Hansen, K6AH. As the AREDN project manager, he finds this open-source, volunteer-based effort personally rewarding and is thrilled at how far the team has been able to take this technology. Andre will discuss this phenomenon as well as bring us up to speed on AREDN developments and notable implementations over the past year.

Sunday, 9:15 - 10:15, Room 3, Tornado Alert - Severe Weather Detector, with Mickey Lee on Tornado Alert new weather detection technology. It is well known that tornadoes can be identified visually or by analysis of Doppler radar. Advances in technology have allowed sensors that measure electrical energy, lightning and others sources, to determine how intense the thunderstorm that is generating the energy. One device even determines distance and movement as it updates every minute. This talk will describe the technology and how to utilize it for household protection, storm spotter activity, or lightning threat awareness.

See you at these fantastic forums at the ARRL National Convention at Dayton Hamvention in just two days!

ARES Supports Washington National Airport Mass Casualty Incident Exercise

Arlington County, Virginia (across the Potomac River from Washington, DC) ARES provided communications support during a recent Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport (DCA) emergency preparedness exercise. The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) mandates a Mass Casualty Incident (MCI) Airport Exercise (APEX), every third year in order to exercise, test, and improve plans, systems, and skills.

The exercise, APEX 19, was held on Saturday, April 27, 2019 and involved Arlington ARES members from the Arlington Amateur Radio Club and Pentagon Amateur Radio Club along with members of the Alexandria Radio Club and Mount Vernon Amateur Radio Club. Amateur Radio operators were stationed at the airport and at area hospitals to track exercise victims as they were triaged and transported from the airport for treatment. A total of 22 Amateur Radio operators participated in the exercise. The exercise scenario also involved 120

Arlington ARES members Sammi Branker, KN4DXY, and Michael Callaham, NW3V, operating radios at the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport emergency preparedness exercise, APEX-19. (photo courtesy KC5QCN)

volunteer role players, moulaged to simulate injuries sustained during a plane crash, participating in the exercise along with airport emergency response teams, area hospitals, and mutual aid responders from surrounding communities. Specific Victim Actor situations provided realistic stress to First Responder plans, systems and skills, testing them in preparation for an airport disaster. The Arlington Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) provided the victim actors with moulage, costuming, and briefings on their role playing duties. Volunteers were advised before signing up that participating in emergency response exercises such as APEX19 can be emotionally and physically challenging. Joe Cigan, exercise director and airport operations manager at DCA, commended exercise participants for an outstanding job. -- Gary Sessums, KC5QCN, Arlington County (Virginia) ARES Emergency Coordinator

National Hurricane Conference Amateur Radio Session Proceedings

The Amateur Radio emergency/disaster response community was represented at the 2019 National Hurricane Conference, April 22 - 25 in New Orleans. "Improving Hurricane Preparedness" was the traditional conference theme. A series of free Amateur Radio sessions took place on Tuesday, April 23. Here are some highlights of the presentations. To view the presentations, click here.

Rob Macedo, KD1CY, Director of Operations for the VoIP Hurricane Net, kicked off the presentations with welcoming remarks, and introduced special speaker Bob Robichaud, VE1MBR, from the Canadian Hurricane Center, who spoke on hurricane-related meteorological topics. Robichaud discussed the purpose and operation of the Canadian Hurricane Center, which is located in Halifax, Nova Scotia. He recounted Hurricane Gloria's (1985) track up the east coast of the US and potential impact on eastern Canada. The science and effects of tropical cyclones in the northern latitudes were not well known at the time, and consequently, the Canadian Hurricane Center was developed in 1987. An amateur station is sited there with the call sign VE1HTC. The center is equipped with a low power VHF repeater, VHF/UHF capability, Echolink, IRLP, a public safety trunked radio system, and maintains relationships with the US National Hurricane Center and the VoIP Hurricane Net.

Next up to the podium was ARRL Virgin Islands Section Manager Fred Kleber, K9VV, who offered one of the most compelling presentations of the sessions. He discussed the historic 2017 category five hurricanes Irma and Maria responses. He presented some of the unique characteristics of emergency management on the islands: There is no place to evacuate to, thus residents must shelter-in-place and not expect any help for the first 96 hours.

There are no paid government radio operators on the USVI: "the hams are it," Kleber said. Hams built, maintain and staff the EOC communications center on St. Croix. The hams are the front line communicators for the territorial EMA. They are embedded with the Transportation Safety Administration, Police, water and power, rescue, and hospitals. They program EMA radios with the National Interoperability Field Operations Guide (NIFOG) interoperability frequencies.

During the hurricane Irma response, hams acted as air traffic control on St. John. (For future possible need, Kleber recommended that all ARES members take training on Landing Zone hand signals). Air-to-ground communications were conducted over the St. Croix two-meter repeater.

FCC granted a Special Temporary Authorization (STA) for ships to use 60-meters. US Navy and National Guard used the 5 MHz channels as did the radio amateurs. Nets were held daily. Amateurs used the channels to communicate with the ships and other Department of Defense assets.

Kleber offered many lessons learned and recommendations going forward: "Every log needs to be a golden log (error-free). Lives depend on it." "Pass messages slowly and carefully, paying attention to quantities, directions, names, etc." "Expand battery and solar power capability for critical equipment." Many more lessons and recommendations were offered by Kleber in his presentation.

With a grant, Kleber and the USVI amateur community have installed a linked system of repeaters across the three islands with interoperability ports for National Interoperability frequencies and better communications for the next incident.

The Irma and Maria responses were on scales seldom seen before, as described by Section Manager Kleber in his presentation.

After a break for lunch, special speaker and guest Ken Graham, WX4KEG, Director, National Hurricane Center, discussed the importance of Amateur Radio/Spotter Surface reports to the NHC. Graham, who served in the New Orleans NWS office during Hurricane Katrina (2005), began his remarks by saying that during the Katrina disaster, Amateur Radio was the only means of communication out of the area, to tell the outside world "we were still alive." Graham was appointed NHC Director on April 1, 2018.

Graham said that it is important to recruit young people into the ranks of the amateur community to preserve and continue Amateur Radio's assets and abilities in hurricane and other meteorological disasters into the future. He also said there is a role for Amateur Radio operators to play in educating the public about the risks and dangers of not only wind, but water/flooding. He cited as an example the 16 fatalities from Hurricane Florence, caused by rising water.

Following Graham was long-time Assistant Coordinator of the National Hurricane Center Amateur Radio station (WX4NHC) Julio Ripoll, WD4R. Ripoll spoke on the dramatic hurricanes of the past two years. For Irma, the clinical staff of the Bascom Palmer Eye Institute, part of the University of Miami, had requested Amateur Radio communications to support the 300 individuals that were hunkered down in the building, which served as a shelter. Winds recorded by an anemometer on top of the building were 133 mph. Ripoll lost half of his home's roof in the storm. Ripoll also discussed Maria's colossal devastation on Puerto Rico, with some 500 shelters to be opened. ARRL recruited 50 volunteers, vetted by Red Cross, to provide communications among the shelters. ARRL also sent go-kits with HF and VHF radios to Puerto Rico. Ripoll applauded the League and staff for their response and support. In 2018, Hurricanes Florence and Michael wrought more destruction and vigorous, active Amateur Radio disaster responses.

Ripoll then presented a fascinating slide show on the history of the National Hurricane Center, and reviewed the configuration of the Amateur Radio stations there over time, with the development of an early go-kit in the event the station had to be moved out of harm's way for a strike on Miami.

Ripoll discussed the purpose of the WX4NHC station: to collect data, or "ground truths" from stations in the affected areas; to serve as a backup communications link for the NHC; and to provide advisories to those in the path of the storms who may not be able to get them by other means.

Bobby Graves, KB5HAV, Net Manager of the venerable Hurricane Watch Net spoke on the role of his net and its relationship with the VoIP Hurricane Net. The net was founded in 1965 by Jerry Murphy, K8YUW. Graves discussed the purposes of the net, which include receiving reports from amateurs in the affected areas and conveying them to the National Hurricane Center for use in the forecasters' advisories. Graves discussed the net's activation for Hurricane Michael (2018): the net was active for 19 hours (with a total of 372 man-hours of volunteer work contributed) and handled countless ground truth weather reports from the devastated areas on Florida's panhandle.

Macedo, net manager of the VoIP Hurricane Net, spoke about his net and best practices for hurricane weather reporting. He referred radio amateurs interested in listening or participating in the net over EchoLink and IRLP to the tab on the website for tips on the configuration of the technical aspects of connecting. After presenting the net's activations for recent major hurricanes, Macedo discussed Zello and other technologies to expand the reach of the net to non-amateurs.

Macedo pointed out that even weaker tropical systems can wreak devastation, and local/regional SKYWARN programs should vigorously activate as indicated: SKYWARN can provide profound situational awareness to the public, media and responders.

Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) Manager Bill Feist, WD8BZH, discussed the components of its strategic plan adopted two years ago, and vision statement going forward: SATERN will "bring together communications expertise and disaster services response to better serve those in need." Feist reviewed international nets, exercises and activations over the past few tropical weather seasons, and discussed lessons learned and goals for future responses: Ability to quickly mobilize and deploy SATERN volunteers into the field; and appoint Divisional SATERN Coordinators to pre-identify deployable volunteer operators and handle related administrative aspects for them.

ARRL Delta Division Director Dave Norris, K5UZ, a former Section Manager, Emergency Coordinator, and COML with years of emergency communications experience, gave the ARRL update, speaking on the new ARES Plan adopted this past January by the full ARRL Board of Directors. The new plan emphasizes the need for new levels of training, qualification, certification, expertise, and capability of ARES members. The drafting committee, the ARRL's Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG), will continues its work this year to enhance the interface between ARES and the National Traffic System and Digital NTS, among other action items. A question and answer period followed, with door prizes awarded.

Readers are strongly urged to view the entire sessions as we count down the days to the commencement of the 2019 hurricane season. View the presentation here:

Ohio ARES Member Completes Entire Catalog of FEMA Independent Study Courses

Ohio ARES member Ronald J. Hollas, K8RJH, recently completed all of the available FEMA numbered online Independent Study courses and has submitted his certificates to the Ohio Section database, according to ARES Training Database Manager James E. Yoder, W8ERW. Hollas has on file a total of 249 certificates of completion including all of the 244 numbered courses. "He is the only one of our members to do so although several have well over 100 completed now," said Yoder. "I suspect that Ron is perhaps the only ARES member to do so, nationally."

"In all, I have recorded 8,226 training documents for 1,028 active Ohio Section ARES members," Yoder said. "809 members have completed NIMS training and 155 have progressed to Level 3 on the ARES training curriculum." He added, "Those numbers continue to grow as our Ohio Section radio amateurs support the ARES mission and submit training documents weekly."

There are approximately 1700 Ohio Section ARES members. The 1,028 mentioned by Yoder are those who have submitted training documents to date. ARES Connect participation is also growing. "We are working hard to get everyone on board." -- James E. Yoder, W8ERW, Assistant Section Emergency Coordinator, ARRL Ohio Section; ARES Training Database Manager; AEC Sandusky and Seneca County ARES

Batteries and the Airlines

Pilot Tom Mills, AF4NC, travels frequently to QRP operating and hiking locations around the world. He has completed the Appalachian Trail, the John Muir Trail and summited 11 peaks over 14,000 feet in Colorado. Mills uses an Elecraft KX-1 or KX-3 with a simple MFJ vertical antenna and a 12 V 7 Ah battery. He carries his gear in a Tamerack Expedition 10 camera backpack, which has enough padding, pockets, and external holders for two water bottles. It has plenty of room for accessories including the small antenna tuner and Begali key.

When traveling, some amateurs have simply purchased a new battery at their destination rather than deal with the perceived hassle of transporting a battery. (Using AAA or AA batteries is just not enough power if you are out for a few days).

Mills is often asked what kinds of batteries can be transported on a plane. After research, he has determined that non-spillable wet batteries (absorbed electrolyte) up to 12 V and 100 Watt-hours are permitted to be carried aboard planes. Absorbed electrolyte battery types include gel cells, AGM, etc. Batteries must be kept in a strong outer case with the terminals protected from shorting out with non-conductive caps, tape, etc. Mills says his 7 Ah batteries can be carried in "carry on" or checked baggage.

Passengers are limited to carrying two batteries. Watt/hours are calculated: 12 V times the rated capacity in Ah of the battery. In Mills' case, his battery is permissible on board: 12 X 7 is 84 watts, less than the 100 Watt-hours maximum permitted.

While the above is a Federal rule, the airlines can impose stricter rules. Mills has not had any problems with US air carriers, but a good precaution is to check with the carrier before leaving home. When traveling on foreign air carriers, check with them directly, but from what Mills has said, he has not heard of any problems.

Here is an FAA "pack safe" page that presents battery restrictions:

See also:

Letters: Take an LZ Class

During a presentation at the National Hurricane Conference this year, the audience learned that Amateur operators are involved with air traffic control and are encouraged to learn Landing Zone (LZ) hand signals. Interested amateurs may want to contact their local air ambulance service to take an LZ class. It's usually free. You may never need it but you have it if needed. In the city of Altus, Oklahoma, hams were able to get the training. - Lloyd Colston, KC5FM, Newkirk, Oklahoma

Landing Zone Preparation
• Size 100 x 100' (larger if more than one aircraft is requested)
• Flat surface without debris
• Free of overhead obstacles (wires, towers etc.)
• Mark landing zone at each corner using secured cones or fire personnel during the day and strobes at night
• Landing Zone coordinator should be standing with the wind to his or her back
• Provide Life Flight with the following patient information: number of patients, adult or pediatric, extricated or still entrapped
• Provide Life Flight with the following landing zone information: surface (road or field), location in relation to accident scene (Northwest etc.), any overhead hazards such as wires, trees or towers

[source: ]

Self-Study Course Offering: ARRL Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs

The ARRL Public Service and Emergency Communications Management for Radio Amateurs (EC-016) course is designed to train licensed Amateur Radio operators who will be in leadership and managerial roles organizing other volunteers to support public service activities and communications emergencies. In this course you will learn how radio amateurs prepare and organize to support local community events, and, working in coordination with governmental and other emergency response organizations, deploy their services to provide communications when needed in an emergency. The course is made available on-line on the ARRL website to all ARRL members. It is a self- study course that you may complete at your own pace. Studying the content of this course is expected to take a minimum of 30 hours. This does not include the time needed to complete the FEMA courses that are referenced as background knowledge for this course. Additional time will be needed to do the suggested activities that will reinforce the content and help you to understand how the topics apply. It is suggested that you develop a plan for completing this course over a period of 2-3 months, depending on your personal schedule.

Further information and portal of entry can be found here:


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