W1AW Supports EchoLink Operations During Ike
Throughout the course of Hurricane -- now Tropical Storm -- Ike, operators at W1AW, the Hiram Percy Maxim Station, hooked into the HF radio of ARRL West Gulf Vice Director David Woolweaver, K5RAV, via EchoLink. According to W1AW Station Manager Joe Carcia, NJ1Q, this enabled hams in Newington to monitor the Texas Emergency Net. "Through Dr Woolweaver's initiative, we could use EchoLink in this fashion to assist ARRL HQ staff monitor critical Net operations using HF -- a capability we have never taken advantage of before."
Carcia said that the reason the HF/EchoLink connection was used was due to the frequency the Texas Emergency Net was using. "The Net was on 75 meters," Carcia said, "and propagation did not favor us here in New England to be able to hear the transmissions. By using Dr Woolweaver's link, we could hear everything on the Net."
During the monitoring sequence, Woolweaver changed the frequencies on EchoLink to enable ARRL HQ to stay on top of and monitor conversations related to message relays, Coast Guard contacts and Health and Welfare traffic from across Texas and the surrounding states. According to ARRL Emergency Preparedness and Response Manager Dennis Dura, K2DCD, this capability will be critical to future emergency communication response at ARRL Headquarters: "Without the EchoLink/HF connection, we here at ARRL would not have able to be in contact with ARRL South Texas Section Leadership."
Woolweaver said that EchoLink can be successfully utilized to monitor and to engage stations on VHF and HF. "Using stations with EchoLink node capabilities and access to VHF and HF equipment, W1AW and other personnel at HQ will be able to become active participants and consultants in local and regional operations," he said. "You cannot underestimate the value of first hand information. The EchoLink to remote HF connection allows W1AW and ARRL staff to monitor and participate in local and regional operations any where any time. It does not get much better than that!"