ARRL

ARRL General Bulletin ARLB059 (2003)

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ARLB059 Amateur Radio prepares to greet Hurricane Isabel

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ARRL Bulletin 59  ARLB059
From ARRL Headquarters
Newington CT  September 16, 2003
To all radio amateurs

SB QST ARL ARLB059
ARLB059 Amateur Radio prepares to greet Hurricane Isabel

Amateur Radio operators along the Eastern Seaboard are gearing up to
greet the arrival of a diminished but still potentially damaging
Hurricane Isabel. The storm is expected to make landfall September
18 along the coast of the Carolinas. The National Hurricane Center
is warning interests from the Carolinas northward to southern New
England to closely monitor Hurricane Isabel's progress.

The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) on 14.325 MHz and WX4NHC at the
National Hurricane Center have announced plans to activate. The HWN
will activate Wednesday, September 17, at 1400 UTC (10 AM EDT).  The
storm has been downgraded to a category 2 hurricane with winds of
105 MPH and higher gusts.

"As the hurricane achieves initial landfall, the HWN will focus
specifically on storm reports into and out of the immediately
affected areas and into the forecast path of the storm," said HWN
Manager Mike Pilgrim, K5MP. WX4NHC will commence operations
September 17 at 2200 UTC (6 PM EDT), according to Amateur Radio
Coordinator John McHugh, KU4GY.

Pilgrim requested that health-and-welfare traffic be directed to
other nets set up for that purpose. The Salvation Army Team
Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) plans to activate on 14.265 MHz on
September 18 at 1400 UTC (10 AM EDT) to handle emergency and
health-and-welfare traffic.

Local emergency and informational nets also will be a part of the
mix, and hams in North Carolina already are getting into the spirit
of things. "There were lots of extra check­ins to the Tarheel Net on
Monday night," said North Carolina Public Information Coordinator
Gary Pearce, KN4AQ. As the North Carolina Section's HF Amateur Radio
Emergency Service (ARES) net, the Tarheel Net meets on 3923 kHz
nightly at 7:30 PM Eastern Time and on 7232 kHz during daylight
hours, if needed.

At WX4NHC, McHugh was calling on amateurs within 50 miles of the
Atlantic coast from South Carolina to New Jersey to provide weather
data to the Hurricane Watch Net. Net participants collect and report
observed and measured weather data to the net to relay to the
National Hurricane Center via WX4NHC. The net also routinely
disseminates public storm advisories as they become available.

"If you have weather equipment and are in the affected area please
try to get that data to WX4NHC, however do not put your self in
danger at any time," McHugh said. He also asked that stations not
relay weather information given out by local media, since that
information already is "in the system."

McHugh said these "surface reports" are very important as they give
hurricane specialists at the National Hurricane Center a clearer
picture of what is actually happening on the ground during the
storm.

Section Emergency Coordinators and Section Managers in Georgia,
North Carolina, Maryland-DC, Southern New Jersey, Western
Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey also report they're preparing
for Isabel.

North Carolina ARRL Section Manager John Covington, W4CC, this week
alerted members in his section to be at the ready. "I encourage each
of you to make personal preparations for the storm," Covington said.
"In addition, I hope you will be able to contribute to Amateur Radio
disaster communications, if necessary." He urged amateurs to make
sure their equipment is working, all batteries charged and any
emergency generators operational. "Do this today," he said, "not
during the storm!"

Covington was among those worrying less about the potential for wind
damage than about the possibility of widespread flooding.

ARRL North Carolina Section Emergency Coordinator Bernie Nobles,
WA4MOK, reports that hams were scheduled to staff the North Carolina
Emergency Management Eastern Branch headquarters in Kinston starting
September 16. The amateur station at the state emergency operations
center in Raleigh will activate September 17. An umbrella of liaison
stations was being organized to monitor the 146.88 MHz repeater and
the Tarheel Net.

The National Hurricane Center has issued a hurricane watch from
Little River Inlet, South Carolina, to Chincoteague, Virginia. As of
11 AM EDT September 16, the storm was 600 miles south-southeast of
Cape Hatteras, North Carolina, moving northwesterly at around 8 MPH.

The southeastern and mid-Atlantic coasts already have been
experiencing large ocean swells and dangerous surf conditions.

Information on the Hurricane Watch Net and WX4NHC can be found on
the web at http://www.hwn.org/ and http://www.wx4nhc.org/,
respectively.  Information on the Salvation Army Team Emergency
Radio Network (SATERN) can be found on the web at
http://www.satern.org/.
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