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Oxford ARES CERT Newsletter
Happy New Year!
In this issue we have an article from Ray K1RAH on WSPR. In the Monday night meeting at the Courthouse we had a good conversation on this mode and were introduced to FT8 modes. I have included a brief description of FT8 and a link to more information. In ARES News I have included Letters from our Maine Section ARES EC Steve KB1TCE.
I hope all is well and you are surviving the cold. I apologize for not having monthly newsletters. Family and work appear to have taken the front burner trying to keep everyone on the road and healthy.
Notes from January 8, 2018 meeting
Oxford ARES CERT
January 8, 2018
7:00 pm (1900 EST)
1. Norm demonstrated his Flexradio
2. For anyone who has checked into or monitored the Seagull Net, you will have noticed that the conditions this past week on 75 meters have been terrible. John K1ESE suggested 1935 as an alternate for these rough evenings. We've done that for each evening from Tuesday through Thursday. The differences are dramatic for many of the stations. Tonight, at least up until 1718 ET, has been usable on 75 but the band is deteriorating quickly. Also, a number of traffic and emcomm nets around the country have done the same thing. Question - are you able to operate on 160? Perhaps we can give it a shot on MECN this Sunday (we might have to). 73, Steve KB1TCE
3. General comments
4. Radios – all but Lovell power supplies are done and back at the EMA for deployment
5. Repeaters – work day a success.
6. Weather spotter data- some participation in nets. The net is now on DMR as well
7. Radios at EMA
a. IC756 will currently not tune on 160m (1935KHz)
8. trailer antenna is functional.
9. Digital discussion about WSPR x and FT8 modes
Adjourned @8:25 pm
Using WSPR-X to Test Antennas
By Ray Hanson, K1RAH
In the last couple of weeks I have been experimenting with some new digital modes using my ICOM 7100. One I really like and appears to be very useful. You may also find it useful. The program is WSPR-X and can be found http://wsprnet.org/drupal/node/2341. Download the WSPR-X not just the WSPR. The WSPR-X program includes other digital modes like FT8 and more radios in the computer connections pull down. The WSPR program did not list the ICOM 7100 but the WSPR-X does.
Once your radio is connected to the program you can select the band and power you are using. It is made for low power and I used 10 watts. I ran it as a test on 20 meters for about 12 hours during the day using my 160 meter full wave loop. Then you go to the wsprnet web site and set up a free account. Log in and you can see all the stations that heard you and stations that you heard. The results are below. It defiantly shows the pattern of the antenna under test. My loop is basically a figure eight pattern oriented N-S. It explains why I can rarely hear Japan or anything that way. The program is easy to use and best of all it is free. You can use it to test your antennas to get a good idea of its pattern and range.
The photo below is my end fed sloping long wire on 20 meters during the day and early evening. It also shows the pattern of my antenna. The main lobe is due west.
Below is the 160 meter loop on 40 meters for all night. Same figure eight pattern as it was on 20 meters.
Fldigi Current Version of FLDIGI – 4.0.4 as of January 12, 2018
1.3. Why all the different modes?
HF propagation is very dependent on the ionosphere, which reflects the signals back to earth. There are strong interactions between different signals arriving from different paths. Experience has shown that particular modulation systems, speeds and bandwidths suit different operating conditions.
Other factors such as available band space, operating speed and convenience, noise level, signal level and available power also affect the choice of mode. While in many cases several different modes might be suitable, having a choice adds to the operating pleasure. It is difficult to advise which mode is best for each particular occasion, and experience plays an important role.
[To gain a good insight into each mode and its capabilities, you might consider purchasing Digital Modes for All Occasions (ISBN 1-872309-82-8) by Murray Greenman ZL1BPU, published by the RSGB and also available from FUNKAMATEUR and CQ Communications; or the ARRL's HF Digital Handbook (ISBN 0-87259-103-4) by Steve Ford, WB8IMY.]
1.4. How do I recognise and tune in the signals?
Recognising the different modes comes with experience. It is a matter of listening to the signal, and observing the appearance of the signal on the tuning display. You can also practise transmitting with the transceiver disconnected, listening to the sound of the signals coming from the computer. There is also (see later paragraph) an automatic tuning option which can recognise and tune in most modes for you.
The software provides a tuning display which shows the radio signals that are receivable within the transceiver passband. Using a point and click technique with the mouse, you can click on the centre of a signal to select it, and the software will tune it in for you. Some modes require more care than others, and of course you need to have the software set for the correct mode first — not always so easy!
The RSID (automatic mode detection and tuning) feature uses a special sequence of tones transmitted at the beginning of each transmission to identify and tune in the signals received. For this feature to work, not only do you need to enable the feature in the receiver, but in addition the stations you are wishing to tune in need to have this feature enabled on transmission. Other programs also offer this RSID feature as an option.
Built-in forms from: http://www.w1hkj.com/flmsg-help/
Built-in forms are only accessible on the advanced user interface. These currently include:
ICS-203 - Organization Assignment List
ICS-205 - Incident Radio Communictions Plan
ICS-205A - Comms List - special USCG Plan
ICS-206 - Medical Plan
ICS-213 - General Message Form
ICS-214 - Unit log
ICS-216 - Radio Requirements Worksheet
ICS-309 - Incident Communications Log
HICS-203 - Hospital Organization Assignment List
HICS-206 - Hospital Staff Medical Plan
HICS-213 - Hospital Incident Message Form
HICS-214 - Hospital Operational Log
MARS Daily - Military Auxiliary Radio System Daily report
MARS IN/EEI - Military Auxiliary Radio System IN/EEI report
MARS Net - Military Auxiliary Radio System net report
MARS Army - Military Auxiliary Radio System Army formatted message
MARS Navy - Military Auxiliary Radio System Navy formatted message
IARU - International Amateur Radio Union standard message
Radiogram - NTS message
Red Cross Safety & Welfare - standard report
Red Cross 5739 - On Site Detailed Damage Assessment
Red Cross 5739A - Detailed Damage Assessment Supplemental Worksheet
Red Cross 5739B - Area Assessment Worksheet
Plaintext - generic message format
CSV-text - Comma Separated Value text file (spreadsheet)
Blank - very simple text format with no preset fields
Drag and Drop - target control (widget) that accepts either a data file (.203 etc), a wrapped data file (.wrap), or the text associated with a data file. The later may be a copy and paste from another application such as fldigi or a text editor.
Transfer - transfer any file using FLMSG wrap and header controls.
It's data files are pure ASCII text that can be sent from point to point using the internet, amateur radio, or other electronic link. The data files are designed to minimize the transfer size. This is particularly important on amateur HF. The data file and the transfer file are one in the same. The transfer file is encapsulated using a process that is compatible with flwrap. Encapsulation allows the program to confirm the received file integrity.
The data file may be sent using flamp or wrapped by flwrap for external transmission. You might want to do that if the file is to be transmitted via internet or a protocol not contained in fldigi. Files transferred in this way will not automatically open in flmsg.
http://www.w1hkj.com/flmsg-help/index.html - sFlmsgDesc
What is FT8
FT8 Mode is Latest Bright Shiny Object in Amateur Radio Digital World
It’s still in beta testing, but FT8 — the latest digital bauble to capture the imagination of the Amateur Radio community — has been luring away many of those already using the popular JT65 “weak-signal” mode. FT8 is included in a beta release of WSJT-X, version 1.8.0-rc1. Among its biggest advantages is a shorter transmit-receive cycle, meaning quicker contacts. The notes for the “candidate” release say that FT8 offers “sensitivity down to –20 dB on the AWGN channel.” Contacts are four times faster than with JT65 or JT9, and an entire FT8 contact can take place in about 1 minute.
The new mode is named after its developers, Steven Franke, K9AN, and Joe Taylor, K1JT. The numeral designates the mode’s 8-frequency shift keying format. Tones are spaced at 6.25 Hz, and an FT8 signal occupies just 50 Hz. Unlike JT65 or JT9, transmit and receive cycles in FT8 each last about 15 seconds. Like JT65, FT8 requires accurate time synchronization. An auto-sequencing feature offers the option to respond automatically to the first decoded reply to your CQ.
For more information visit: http://www.arrl.org/news/ft8-mode-is-latest-bright-shiny-object-in-amateur-radio-digital-world
FT8 mode and working DX
Special thanks to Norm for coming out to support the Kids Day activity @ HSES on Saturday. We had two kids show up including one of those who came last January.
George Jones W2GPJ
I just got off the phone with David Lowe, WE1U. Turns out that he suffered a heart attack last Thursday in the middle of the snowstorm. Initially he thought that he might be reacting to a bat bite that he received the previous week, but with the passage of sometime it became clear that something else was going on. The ambulance crew quickly determined what was going on with their on board instruments and got him the the CMMC Heart Cath. Lab. Turns out he was one of three admitted that afternoon. A stint has been inserted and he is due to see a cardiologist in the next few days. He is at home, feeling somewhat weakened but otherwise okay.
George Jones W2GPJ --
Something to think about while consuming good cheer and eggnog over the next few days.
This past Friday I was listening in on the December DHS SHARES (SHAred RESources High Frequency (HF) Radio Program) Interoperability Working Group meeting and was watching the text message screen. A large part of the meeting was a discussion of the experiences of the SHARES team in Puerto Rico. This included operators with the correct experience, the right equipment and a common set of goals. One of the attendees, C. Matthew Curtin KD8TTE (Ohio ASEC) texted that Ohio ARES has a registry for equipment that can be shared. See http://arrl-ohio.org/SEC/ff-100.htmlhttp://arrl-ohio.org/SEC/ff-100.html
It's fairly common for county owned ham-oriented or adaptable equipment to be shared. Examples include portable towers and APRS trackers but not so common for personally owned equipment. I followed up with Matt and the Ohio SEC Stan Broadway, N8BHL. They both admitted that it's not been easy to get the hams to register their equipment. Stan wrote:
My pitch has been that you spend all that time building a trailer or something, with the sole intent of using it in an emergency. Here’s your chance to get this used. We affirm that the owner or team responsible is expected to go with the resource, and it will continue to be under the control of the owner. The owner could specify if the unit was to be used locally within a few counties, statewide or nationwide. To be fair, the reception of the idea was good, didn’t have much opposition other than the owner-goes questions. But when it came down to actually registering the stuff on a simple on-line form, the silence was deafening. We do have some items, but I’m sure if there’s a regional application we’ll unknowingly bypass closer equipment.
Looking at Maine, each of our county groups has some baseline skills and resources as well as some capabilities that might be special or unusual. This could be individual operators with particular training or abilities, some specialized pieces of equipment, or some other capability that might not have gotten a lot of visibility outside of the local group.
In a disaster, any of these might be very valuable if they can be made available to the disaster area, either on location or as a remotely accessible resource that could be used to make life easier for the team in the disaster zone. One example of this last item was evident in some of the operating differences between the two groups in PR. Both teams used Winlink for virtually all of the comms that were beyond the range of VHF simplex. The ham teams worked independently and each group had to connect to Winlink gateways in the US or Europe, even if the message was just going across the island (for some reason they didn't think to use the peer to peer mode). The SHARES team set up a temporary gateway on the island and the other stations on the island only had to connect to the temporary gateway. The island gateway served as a hub and did the connections to the remote gateways when moving traffic off the island. That was an example of the right skill and equipment being applied to simplify a task.
I would be interested in feedback, ideas and any examples. Please don't reply to the entire list so as to keep email volume down. I'll summarize what comes back.
As a side note, there will be no MECN on Sunday, Christmas Eve. It will resume on December 31.
Best wishes to all for a very pleasant Christmas and holiday season.
73, Steve KB1TCE
This has been in the works for a while but my take is that the issues that arose from the Puerto Rico deployment have served to accelerate the process.
73, Steve KB1TCE
-------- Forwarded Message --------
Changes Coming to the Amateur Radio Emergency Service
Mon, 18 Dec 2017 15:05:19 -0500 (EST)
Ewald, Steve, WV1X <email@example.com>
Changes Coming to the Amateur Radio Emergency Service
The Amateur Radio Emergency Service® (ARES) has been the public service communications program of the ARRL since 1935. Over the program’s eight decades it has occasionally undergone updates to make sure it meets the needs of partners at all levels, adjusts to changes in the Amateur Radio Service, and incorporate lessons learned from emergency and disaster activations. However, the last major update to ARES occurred more than 40 years ago, and it is quite clear that a lot has changed since then.
So, two years ago, the ARRL board of directors created the Public Service Enhancement Working Group to study the ARRL’s public service offerings and recommend changes and improvements. The working group focused on many areas including training, volunteer management, field organization positions, and mission – all areas of concern brought to the board and staff’s attention from those in the field. The recommendations were vetted through a peer review group of field organization volunteers and readied for implementation.
In the months ahead, you will receive information on enhancements coming to the ARES program, including:
A new national mission statement for ARES
New national training requirements and local training resources for ARES
Updated field organization job descriptions
Improved ARES operating guidelines
New ARES group benefits
A new volunteer management system – ARES Connect
The first step in the next evolution of ARES is group identification. Currently there is no way to identify ARES groups or their associated volunteers with a searchable unique designator, which makes reporting and accountability difficult. Beginning January 1, 2018 ARES groups will need to sign up for their unique ARES identification number. This number will be utilized by the ARES Connect system and provide ARES groups with unique benefits (think club affiliation, but for ARES!).
Once ARES groups receive their identification numbers they will be eligible for benefits including:
ARES book sets (great for the EOC or Red Cross radio room)
New ham referral
Early access to the annual ARES Report
Email forwarding, which will provide ARES groups that have a club callsign with a uniform "call firstname.lastname@example.org"
More to come!
Groups that will need an ARES identification number include local level (city/county/district) and section level. Information about the ARES identification application process will be sent out the week before the application system opens.
If you have any questions, please contact ARRL Emergency Preparedness Manager Mike Corey, KI1U, email@example.com
ARRL Public Service Enhancement Working Group
Dale Williams, WA8EFK
These changes could cause you to loose support of some operators. I have seen mandatory registration, and training requirements (magnates), plus reporting cause a loss of members. These operators all ready meet the main requirements licensing and equipment accept this with thanks. Just my thoughts, remember ham radio is a hobby.
Leo H. Langelier Jr. N1BOK
Back around mid 2016 ARRL said that they were on a 4 month "short fuse" with FEMA to revamp ARES. That deadline came and went but I wouldn't be surprised if the "Public Service Enhancement Working Group" was part of that. Your sentiment has been echoed on the SEC Reflector along with "why haven't the SECs had an opportunity to provide input?" The Puerto Rico call up showed that there was no plan on how to enlist qualified volunteers. The ARRL Ham Aid kits were also obsolete and new equipment had to be purchased at the last moment. SCS modems (loaned by AT&T) weren't available until the end of the mission. From what I understand, the team did a great job in many ways but the comms side left some things to be desired. SHARES subsequently sent in 10 ops who were MARS/Auxcomm and reports back on that were very good. Only one repeater survived and the RFI from all of the generators was horrific. Most of the locations were virtually unusable for ssb voice and hf data (Pactor 3 and 4) represented the vast majority of the comms. One location on the island was used as a Winlink gateway. I've no idea what ARRL's plan is beyond trying to be some central coordination function. Are they looking at typing RADOs? Having a list of deployable operators with specific skills? Time will tell. Meanwhile, our primary goal is pretty much to satisfy the needs of our local agencies. As for the extra benefits, these seem pretty weak. 73, Steve
Top of Form
Bottom of Form
ARLX001 FEMA Region 10 Communication Exercises Will Make Use of 60 Meters
Tue 1/9/2018 4:57 PM
From: "ARRL Web site"
SPCL @ ARL $ARLX001 ARLX001
FEMA Region 10 Communication Exercises Will Make Use of 60 Meters
ZCZC AX01 QST de W1AW
Special Bulletin 1
ARLX001 From ARRL Headquarters
January 9, 2018
To all radio amateurs
Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Region 10 (Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, and Washington) will conduct a Communications Exercise (COMMEX) on January 17 and on the third Wednesday of subsequent months during 2018, 1500-2100 UTC. These exercises will use the 60-meter channels and will test and exercise interoperable communication (federal/state/local/tribal/Amateur Radio) for use during a major disaster in which the conventional telecommunication infrastructure has been significantly damaged or destroyed.
FEMA Region 10 will use the call sign WGY910. Other stations that may take part include, but are not limited to, other FEMA stations, DHS, USCG, SHARES, DoD, and National Weather Service. Stations (both federal and amateur) associated with agencies and organizations that provide response support in accordance with the National Response Framework are encouraged to participate.
The COMMEX will use all five 60-meter dial frequencies: 5,330.5 kHz; 5,346.5 kHz; 5,357.0 kHz; 5,371.5 kHz, and 5,403.5 kHz as part of the exercise. NNNN /EX
SB QST @ ARL $ARLB003
NCVEC Releases New Technician License Question Pool into the Public Domain ZCZC AG03 QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 3
From ARRL Headquarters
January 9, 2018
To all radio amateurs
The National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has announced the release of the 2018-2022 Amateur Radio Element 2 Technician class license question pool into the public domain. Each question pool must be published and made available to the public prior to its use as a question set, from which individual examinations are developed.
Alert the NCVEC Question Pool Committee to any necessary corrections or typographical errors via email at, firstname.lastname@example.org . The new Technician license question pool contains 428 questions. It will become effective for all Technician class license examinations starting on July 1, 2018. NNNN /EX
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SB SPACE @ ARL $ARLS001 ARLS001
Fox-1D Satellite Set to Launch this Week, China to Launch Five New CubeSats ZCZC AS01
QST de W1AW
Space Bulletin 001
ARLS001 From ARRL Headquarters
January 9, 2018
To all radio amateurs
SB SPACE ARL ARLS001 ARLS001
The launch of AMSAT-NA's Fox-1D CubeSat will take place from India on January 12 (UTC). The Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) flight had to be rescheduled from December 30. AMSAT Vice-President Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, delivered Fox-1D to Spaceflight Inc in Seattle last November for integration.
In addition to a Fox-1 U/V FM transponder, Fox-1D will carry several university experiments, including a MEMS gyro from Pennsylvania State University-Erie, a camera from Virginia Tech, and the University of Iowa's High Energy Radiation CubeSat Instrument (HERCI) radiation mapping experiment. Fox-1D also carries the AMSAT "L-Band Downshifter," which gives the option of utilizing a 1.2 GHz uplink for the FM transponder. The Fox-1D downlink will be on 145.880 MHz, and uplinks will be on 435.350 and 1,267.350 MHz (67 Hz CTCSS), switchable.
In addition to the Fox-1D Amateur Radio payload, the PSLV will carry the French PicSat, which carries a V/U FM transponder. PicSat will perform space observations. The transponder uplink is 145.910 MHz, the downlink is 435.525 MHz. Some 30 smaller secondary payloads from India, the US, and other international entities will also be on the launch, AMSAT News Service has reported. AMSAT said it will release Fox-1D's Keplerian elements on its website as soon as they are known, and it's seeking telemetry data on the CubeSat to assist with commissioning. "Participation in telemetry collection by as many stations in as many parts of the world as possible is essential as AMSAT Engineering looks for successful startup and indications of the general health and function of the satellite as it begins to acclimate to space," AMSAT said over the weekend. AMSAT advised those capturing telemetry using the FoxTelem software to check the "Upload to Server" option and to complete the "Ground Station Params" section. If AMSAT Engineering sees nominal values from the telemetry gathered, Fox-1D will be commanded from Beacon Mode to Safe Mode on the first good pass over the US. AMSAT said the on-orbit checkout procedure could be completed in a few days. AMSAT asks the Amateur Satellite community to refrain from using the transponder uplink while on-orbit testing is under way.
Meanwhile, AMSAT-UK reports that China will launch Hunan Amateur Radio Society's constellation of five similar 6U CubeSat spacecraft on January 17 from its Jiuquan Space Center. Identified as TY-2 through TY-6, the satellites will carry out ionospheric transmission-detection experiments, in addition to Amateur Radio HF/VHF/UHF re-transmitting experiments in any narrow-band mode. The constellation will also carry out inter-satellite communication experiments that include Amateur Radio loads, Li-Fi high-speed LED digital downlink, and CW lamp signal communication experiments. Downlinks are on 70 centimeters using 9.6 kbps GMSK and on 2.4 GHz and 5.8 GHz using 5 Mbps OFDM. NNNN /EX
[oodbye FT8, Hello Olivia, The Magic HF Digital Mode]
Goodbye FT8, Hello Olivia, The Magic HF Digital Mode
Posted date: October 24, 2017in: Digital ModesNo Comments
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“So many people have started using FT-8 on HF, but they leave all the other modes to die off, like Olivia. Olivia isn’t new, but it offers the weak signal efficiency and decoding in poor conditions while giving you some rag chew, not just zombie mode callsign exchange. Check out this video to learn more, and I hope to see you on Olivia. Below are some links for the bandplans and more information.”
Bandplans for Olivia : http://hflink.com/olivia/
Summer 2017 Oxford ARES/CERT Comm Newsletter
August 7 2017
The Antenna Removal Crew Hard at work on Sunday August 6.
First of all, many thank you’s to the Hams who worked to remove the antennas from the roof of the courthouse on Sunday. The morning started with 7 am planning session and breakfast. By 8 am we had climbers on the tower and the first antenna loosened and headed gently to the awaiting roof crew. Tower climbers were Maury KB1EZZ, and Brad N1GZB who safely and successfully removed the amateur radio HF and VHF/UHF antennas from the tower. The roof and ground crew were Norm KA1SG Project Lead, Bob N1WJO, George W2GPJ, Marshall N1WFP, Wayne N1YIS. Allyson Hill, our EMA Director, joined us briefly at the beginning of the project. . Almost every one of the feedlines were saved and retracted through the roof. The bulk of the project was finished by 12 noon with some very temporary antennas rigged in the building.
This tower, for those of you that may not know, is being cut off the roof September 1st as the renovations start. Currently we have started to setup temporary antennas for the next 18 months. More work will need to be done both at the courthouse and at the trailer shelter to allow all of us to maintain emergency communications. Permission was granted to set up a wire antenna at the shelter site. Plans for a permanent installation at the courthouse/EMA are still in the planning stages with issues that need to be addressed with the commercial vendor for the RCC. It is important that we all work together to setup a functional ARES/CERT comm. station that will cause no interference with Oxford County EMS system.
IC718 Update August 7, 2017
Received a call from Steve at HRO that the ‘718 will need to go out from repair to ICOM. The radio on their bench was “deaf” however they were unable to reproduce the whistle we had at the EMA building.
September 1, 2017 Tower Comes off Roof at Oxford County Courthouse
August 7, 2017 7pm Oxford County EMA/ Courthouse
September 4, 2017 7pm Oxford County EMA/ Courthouse
On Air Meetings/Nets
August 14, 2017 7:30 pm 146.88 repeater
August 21, 2017 7:30 pm 146.88 repeater
August 28, 2017 7:30 pm 146.88 repeater
Amateur Radio Emergency Service &
Community Emergency Response Team – Communications
Alert: Hurricanes Irma & Jose– stay updated! Landfall projected to be near Florida. Paths after that is to be determined.
We in Oxford County ARES/CERT Comm teams need to be making contingency plans should we be called. Our current radio status at the EMA is compromised without a tested permanent reliable antenna system.
There have been significant changes at the Court House during the past 30 days. A Huge Thank you to all who helped make this part of the transition go forward. The tower was removed from the courthouse roof September 1st to permit the repairs to the roof.
There have been some concerns about communications from the radio room in South Paris to statewide EOC’s. A loop antenna in the roof of the courthouse is being utilized for HF 75m and 40m. Norm Clanton KA1SG has taken the lead with other amateur radio operators to work on solving issues with this system. Currently we are without 220 capability due to a radio issue. The IC 718 is back from Icom and functional again.
The tower was on the ground by noon on September 1,2017.
The remaining antenna that was on top of the tower was also removed without damage. A huge thank you’s to Marty Knaas and also the crane operator for removing this equipment without incident!
Editor’s Note: Hi everyone!
Although we did not have the September monthly meeting we still have many projects and events already planned. This is a rather lengthy newsletter with many items that need volunteers, workers, and input from all of you. If you are unable to commit to the first item please keep reading because this is a “many hands make the chores lighter” month.
From the ARRL September Newsletter:
Amateur Radio Preparations Ramp Up as Irma Strengthens to Category 5
Hurricane Irma -- the most powerful hurricane in more than a decade to threaten the Atlantic coast -- has been making its way through the Caribbean with the likelihood of affecting Florida by late this weekend. Evacuations already were under way by midweek in several Florida counties. The National Hurricane Center (NHC) has called Irma "an extremely dangerous category 5 hurricane." Hurricane-force winds extend outward up to 50 miles from the storm's center.
A GOES satellite image of Hurricane Irma on September 6. [NOAA image]
The NHC has warned that the combination of a life-threatening storm surge and large, breaking waves will cause above-normal tides and flood normally dry areas near the coast. Rainfall of up to 15 inches or -- in isolated instances -- 20 inches has been predicted.
W1AW at ARRL HQ will be in monitoring mode through Saturday and will activate on Sunday. Ham Aid equipment has been deployed to the West Central Florida Section, where ARES teams in at least three counties are ready to support shelter communication.
The Hurricane Watch Net (HWN) activated on September 5, and by mid-week was watching three hurricanes -- Category 5 Irma; Category 1 José, following behind Irma, and Category 1 Katia in the Gulf of Mexico.
"It now looks like the Hurricane Watch Net will be working on two land-falling hurricanes," said HWN Manager Bobby Graves, KB5HAV. "Over the next few days, Irma will affect Hispaniola, Cuba, the Bahamas, and Florida."
"José could affect the northern Leeward Islands Saturday or Sunday as a Category 2 Hurricane. Katia is forecast to make landfall on the coast of Mexico as a Category 2 Hurricane late Friday evening or early Saturday morning.
The HWN's primary frequency is 14.325 MHz, and its nighttime frequency is 7.268 MHz, although the net could operate on both frequencies simultaneously. Graves said the net, which marks its 52nd anniversary this week, would remain in continuous operation until further notice.
The 5-day projected track of Hurricane Irma as of the morning of September 7. Click on graphic to update. [NOAA graphic]
The VoIP Hurricane Net activated on September 5 -- as did WX4NHC at the NHC. Both the HWN and the VoIP Hurricane Network relay hurricane "ground-truth" information via WX4NHC to the NHC to assist forecasters. Any Amateur Radio operators in the affected area of Irma or with relays into the affected area of Irma are asked to provide surface and damage reports into the VoIP Hurricane Net for relay into WX4NHC.
SKYWARN Nets active as Irma moves through the Caribbean can pass reports to the VoIP Hurricane Net for relay into WX4NHC and are asked to designate a net liaison or connect directly to the *WX_TALK* EchoLink conference node: 7203/IRLP 9219. Stations on AllStar can connect to the EchoLink side of the system by dialing *033007203.
IARU Region 2 Emergency Coordinator Cesar Pio Santos, HR2P, compiled a list of emergency frequencies, subject to change, for use in the Caribbean in anticipation of Hurricane Irma. Radio amateurs not involved with the emergency should avoid these frequencies.
· Puerto Rico: 3.803, 3.808, 7.188 MHz. Radio amateurs in Puerto Rico also will cooperate with the HWN on 7.268 and 14.325 MHz.
· Cuba: Days, 7.110 MHz (primary) and 7.120 MHz (secondary); Provincial Net -- 7.045, 7.080 MHz, and on other lower frequencies as necessary. Nights, 3.740 MHz (primary) and 3.720 MHz (secondary), and on other lower frequencies as necessary.
· Dominican Republic: 3.873 MHz (primary), 3.815 MHz (secondary), 7.182 MHz (primary), 7.255 MHz (secondary); 14.330 MHz (primary), 21.360 MHz (primary), 28.330 MHz (primary).
· Caribbean Emergency and Weather Net (CEWN): 3.815 MHz and 7.162 MHz (when necessary). The net has activated continuously until the hurricane passes through.
The Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN) encouraged its operators to start monitoring the HWN. On Wednesday, September 6, the International SATERN SSB Net moved to a Delta II (extended monitoring) status from 1400 until 2300 UTC. SATERN National Liaison Bill Feist, WB8BZH, said that schedule could hold through the end of the week. Stations on the net will seek information on emergency, priority, or health-and-welfare traffic, situation and hurricane damage, and communication disruptions. SATERN will not accept health-and-welfare inquiries.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) announced that several FEMA Regions would activate the 5 MHz/60-meter interoperability frequencies in support of a possible response to Hurricane Irma. Direct communication between federal and amateur stations is permitted. FEMA stations are:
· Region 1 -- KF1EMA
· Region 2 -- KF2EMA (includes Puerto Rico and US Virgin Islands)
· Region 3 -- KF3EMA
· Region 4 -- KF4EMA
· Region 6 -- KF6EMA
· Maynard MERS -- NF1EMA
· Thomasville MERS -- NF4EMA
· Denton MERS -- NF6EMA
These suppressed-carrier reference frequencies -- also known as dial frequencies or window frequencies -- 5330.5 kHz (voice), 5346.5 kHz (data), 5357.0 kHz, 5371.5 kHz, and 5403.5 kHz, may be used as part of the event. The FEMA point of contact is Dave Adsit, KG4BIR, FEMA Spectrum Manager, (540) 272-4605.
The FCC Wireless Telecommunications Bureau (WTB) reminded licensees this week that FCC rules address operation during emergencies. "These rules allow licensees to provide emergency communications during a period of emergency in a manner or configuration not specified in the station authorization or in the rules governing such stations," the FCC said. The FCC contact for Part 97 (Amateur Service) rules is Mike Regiec, (717) 338-2603. During non-business hours, contact the FCC Operations Center, (202) 418-1122.
Updates on storm-related Amateur Radio activity are posted on the ARRL Hurricane Irma page.
ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) Fall Classic Set for First Weekend in October
The main weekend for the 2017 ARRL Simulated Emergency Test (SET) is only a little more than a month away -- Saturday and Sunday, October 7 and 8. This primary League-sponsored national emergency exercise is designed to assess the skills and preparedness of ARES® and other organizations involved with emergency and disaster response.
"Every local ARES team and/or ARRL Section will come up with their own scenarios and work with served agencies and partner organizations during the SET," said ARRL Field Organization Team Supervisor Steve Ewald, WV1X, who pointed out that not all SETs will take place on the first full weekend of October.
"SETs can be scheduled at the local and Section levels and conducted throughout the fall season to help maximize participation," Ewald said, "and ARRL Field Organization leaders have the option of conducting their SETs on another weekend if October 7 and 8 are not convenient."
ARRL Field Organization Leaders -- Section Managers, Section Emergency Coordinators, Section Traffic Managers, District Emergency Coordinators, Emergency Coordinators, and all of their Assistants and Net Managers -- are among those tasked with developing plans and scenarios for this year's SET, Ewald explained.
"The SET invites all radio amateurs to become aware of emergency preparedness and available training," Ewald said. "ARES, Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Service (RACES), National Traffic System™, SKYWARN, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Salvation Army Team Emergency Radio Network (SATERN), and other allied groups and public service-oriented radio amateurs are encouraged to participate."
The object of the annual nationwide exercise is to test training and skills and to try out new methods. "It's a time to work with partner organizations and served agencies to get to know them better and to determine their needs before an emergency or disaster strikes," Ewald said. "Knowing who to contact within partner groups with the planned procedures will help everyone accomplish their goals and succeed in their missions."
To get involved, contact your local ARRL Emergency Coordinator or Net Manager. See the ARRL Sections pages or get in touch with your ARRL Section Manager (see page 16 of QST for contact information). Read more.
ARE YOUR GO KITS READY?
September 8, 9 and 10, 2017 ARRL New England Division Convention in Boxborough
September 9-16 Bike Maine
September 16 Loon Echo Trek
Ham Contact: Gary N1ZNJ email@example.com
September 16 LifeFlight Ground Safety Course 8 to 11 am
See flyer in this newsletter for more info
September 23 Statewide Fire and Ice 2pm to 8pm
October 6 Parade of Lights in Woodstock 6:30pm
State of Maine Notes:
Notes from Steve KB1TCE State ARES EC
The weekly Winlink message series will restart as of Sunday, 3 September. For a few weeks, this will be a simple message to every individual who is on the list of active Winlink users (i.e. those who have used the system within the past 400 days). The message will request a reply by the following Saturday with information on which mode was used to receive the message and then to transmit the reply. Any Winlink mode is acceptable although RF is, of course, preferred. As preparation for the Sept 21 Fire & Ice exercise, this would be a good time to try a connect to WD1O on his 10 meter frequency and also to check out distant Winlink RMS stations that are scanning frequencies on 20 meters and above. The current Maine Winlink list is attached. Let me know if there are additions. Also let me know if you want a club call included in the distribution. 73, Steve KB1TCE
Update from Kevin Rousseau at MEMA.
From the ham perspective, Lincoln County is having a planning session this evening. Knox's will be Saturday.
I will have a draft 205 for the various coordination frequencies by Monday.
Please submit creative ideas or comments/questions to me as quickly as possible.
Good morning everyone,
The third segment in the Fire and Ice Exercise series is scheduled to take place on Thursday September 21st from 2pm–8pm (1400-2000) both here at the State EOC and also at the 16 County EOCs. Here are some updates to pass along:
-As I wrote before, many counties requested that we move the time of the exercise into the afternoon and the early evening in order to accommodate volunteers at County EOCs. This would also allow us and other players such as ham radio operators to exercise a shift change as well if so inclined. Given this, the schedule is as follows:
1:30 pm – 2:00 pm Registration
2:00 pm – 2:15 pm Player Briefing
2:15 pm – 3:00 pm NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center Briefing On Adobe Connect
3:00 pm STARTEX/Initial Planning Brief
3:00 pm – 5:15 pm Exercise Play – Shift One
5:00 pm – 5:15 pm Mock Press Conference
5:15 pm – 5:30 pm Hotwash – Shift One
5:30 pm – 7:45 pm Exercise Play – Shift Two
7:45 pm – 8:00 pm Hotwash – Shift Two
8:00 pm ENDEX
-Due to end of federal fiscal year issues, Robert Rutledge from NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center will be unable to attend in-person for his briefing. However, he will present it through the Adobe Connect platform that we have been using for the player briefings and hotwashes in previous exercises. If you are coming over to MEMA, registration will be from 1:30pm-2:00pm. Light snacks and dinner will be available for participants coming here. The exercise briefing that will begin promptly at 2:00pm and will be able to viewed anywhere via Adobe Connect. Here is the link for that day:
Conference Number(s): 877-455-0244
Participant Code: 1394293661
- The scenario will build upon the first two exercises and will be eight days after the ice storm. CMP and Emera will again be participating and have been working with us on the space weather scenario. They will again be available in the State EOC for consultation and exercise play. Attached is the damage prediction model that we have developed for this exercise. Note that the statewide power outage numbers continue to decline from about 145,000 accounts in the last exercise to about 85,000 for this exercise. Also attached is an article in layman’s terms that CMP passed along on the effect of a geomagnetic disturbance on the power system.
- If you have a WebEOC account, please log in to the WebEOC Test website between now and the 21st to make sure your login name and password is working properly as any login issues will slow the beginning of the exercise. An event “Fire and Ice 2017” has been created for this exercise in WebEOC Test. An Incident Action Plan (IAP) will again be loaded into this WebEOC event. The event can be accessed by following this link:
-HAM radio play will continue both here at MEMA and at the County EMAs that have this capability and wish to exercise it. Attached is the draft ICS 205 that Steve Mallory has put together. A unique aspect of this upcoming exercise will be Aroostook County EMA working on testing our ability to communicate with our New Brunswick EMO partners.
-Finally, we have determined that the fourth and final exercise in the Fire and Ice series on October 26th will be a tabletop exercise, rather than a functional exercise. The intent of this tabletop will be to validate the newly drafted Interagency Disaster Recovery Plan with key state departments and stakeholders. Invites for attendance at this tabletop exercise will go out separately. This means that there will be no exercise play that day in the State EOC given that we will be focusing on our recovery objectives as opposed to response objectives.
Please call or write with any questions.
Kevin Rousseau, CEM-ME
Emergency Response Training Coordinator
State Exercise Officer (SEO)
Maine Emergency Management Agency
72 State House Station
Augusta, ME 04333-0072
(207) 620-2414 (cell and office)
Please note that my old desk phone number (207) 624-4410 is no longer in service.
From Franklin County:
Hello All -
I know it is late notice, but we were just given this request a couple days ago. Franklin County ARES is looking for operators to help out at the Northwoods Gravel Grind on Saturday, Sept. 23 in Rangeley, ME. We will be set up along the course and at the start/finish. Information about the Grind can be found at
I am contacting EC’s and ARES groups at bordering counties to see if you can help us. Could you please send out a notice to your members.
If participants have a pick-up truck or SUV this might come in handy as the course covers woods roads - will run rain or shine. However, last year a Subaru wagon was easily able to do this.
We will be having a control operator at a high spot overlooking the entire race course.
If interested, Contact me at
EC for Franklin County ARES
Have YOU checked the condition of your batteries?
Oxford County Notes:
On Friday September 1 the tower was removed from the roof of the EMA office. Once the tower was disassembled we took the tower to the trailer shelter for storage. When I got to the shelter I decided to go in the trailer to check things out before the tower made it there. It was determined that the trailer had been broken into. The front window over the TS-480 had been opened, the screen and curtain knocked out of the way. At that point I exited the trailer and notified Allyson. The police were notified and a report made. While waiting for the police to arrive Norm noticed that the skylights were open on the IMAT trailer. I entered that trailer and determined that someone had attempted to break into that unit also. Both skylights have been broken and the screen in them cut. The skylights will need to be replaced.
Oxford RCC and Oxford EMA are aware of this and the police took pictures of all the damage. Nothing was found to be missing and it appears that the person or persons that caused the damage actually could not get into either unit. We found out that one week ago the snack shack at the ball field had been broken into and vandalized. Most likely our units were vandalized on the same date as the snack shack.
Oxford RCC/EMA will be installing some WIFI cameras next week that will trigger someone when motion is sensed. This should allow any further damage or criminal activity to be caught and to catch the person or persons doing such.
COML / COMT
DEC District 1
MEMA HAM Liason
Oxford County IMAT
For those of you that may not know, we share the trailer with the Oxford RCC when there is a need for a mobile communication unit away from the fixed South Paris facility.
It has been used in fires, search and rescue, and most recentl as RCC mobile after a lightning strike disabled the Western Ave facility. This picture is from the Sun Journal article.
Do you know where your CERT Backpack is and all the gear that belongs in it?
Good afternoon, all.
George KC1GHY agreed to go with me to the courthouse this morning to see if we could sort out the feedline situation and get some HF capability going. We were able to identify a functional hardline ( the one which had to be sawed off), and I installed a reclaimed connector on it. We connected it up to the "contingency" antenna in the attic and was able to tune it up on 75m, 40m, and 20m. As expected, the noise level is quite high, but I think it will work for us, provided we aren't trying to work some guy on a peanut-whistle (mobile) somewhere up in "the County". I think it would be a very interesting exercise for someone to go down there at 1700L Monday-Saturday and check into (or at least monitor) the Sea Gull Net on 3940 KHz. That would give us a very good indication of how we can hear and be heard around the state. Any volunteers?
Since the Austin tri-bander has been water/freeze damaged, I brought it home with me and will see if I can get into it and perhaps effect some repair.
There are two remaining feedlines in the attic which are unterminated. One 1/2" line indicates a DC short somewhere on the line. The cause and location of that is undetermined. The other line is 7/8" Heliax. Like the other lines, it has a female type N connector, but two of the four prongs of the center pin are broken off. Unfortunately, I don't have such a connector immediately available, but wouldn't spend money on replacing it anyway. So we presently have three functional feedlines going from the basement to the attic: one on the County radio in Teresa's office, one from the Kenwood D-710 to the dual-band Comet, and one from the Icom IC-756 Pro to the wire OCFD. I marked the coax for the HF antenna at the radio end with a tag of gray duct tape (it's good for everything, you know), labeled it and dated it. I did leave it unplugged from the tuner and also disconnected the power cable to the radio as a precaution. If anyone has a spare dummy load to lend to the cause, it wouldn't be a bad idea to terminate the second port on the tuner..just in case.
That's the report for the moment. Many thanks to George for the assist this morning. Next project: get the skyloop up at the shelter.
SB QST @
ARLB016 Revised NCVEC Form 605 Must Be Used at Exam Sessions Starting on August 21
ZCZC AG16 QST de W1AW
ARRL Bulletin 16
ARLB016 From ARRL Headquarters
August 18, 2017
To all radio amateurs
SB QST ARL ARLB016
ARLB016 Revised NCVEC Form 605 Must Be Used at Exam Sessions Starting on August 21
With a revised FCC Form 605 - Quick-Form Application for Authorization in the Ship, Aircraft, Amateur, Restricted and Commercial Operator, and General Mobile Radio Services - soon going into effect, the National Conference of Volunteer Examiner Coordinators (NCVEC) has updated its unofficial NCVEC Form 605 that's used at volunteer examination sessions. The revised NCVEC Form 605 must be used at exam sessions starting on August 21. Both the new FCC and NCVEC forms ask applicants if they have been convicted of a felony in any state or federal court. This conforms with FCC requirements to evaluate an applicant's qualifications to hold any FCC-issued license. The FCC has been asking "the felony question" on other forms, and its omission on Form 605 was an apparent oversight. An applicant's response and explanation to the felony question - now included on NCVEC Form 605 - will be used to determine eligibility to be a Commission licensee. If the answer to the felony question is "yes," the applicant must submit to FCC - separately from NCVEC Form 605 - a statement (the FCC calls it an "exhibit") explaining the circumstances. Such applications will be held for a basic qualification review, something the FCC already does for other licensed radio services. The FCC's Wireless Telecommunications Bureau has said that an affirmative answer to the felony question does not mean that an application will be denied automatically. An applicant's answer to the felony question and their exhibit will be publically viewable via the Universal Licensing System (ULS). The applicant can request that all or part of the exhibit be kept confidential, and it will not be visible to the public. VECs will not handle exhibits and confidentiality requests; these must be filed with the FCC by the applicant. Applicants must answer the felony question only when filing NCVEC Form 605 or FCC Form 605 for a New, Amendment, Modification (upgrade or call sign change), or Renewal/Modification (changes at renewal time). The question does not have to be answered if the applicant is filing a renewal or an administrative update (change of address, name, e-mail address, etc). New NCVEC 605 Forms and an Applicant information sheet for use at ARRL Volunteer Examiner Coordinator exam sessions starting on August 21 have been published. VEC teams should discard all existing versions of the NCVEC Form 605; they no longer will be valid and cannot be used going forward. The FCC has indicated that all VECs must begin submitting this additional data starting on September 7. NCVEC decided to make August 21 the effective date to accommodate mail schedules and the Labor Day holiday. NCVEC Form 605 has not been revised since the Commission restructured Amateur Radio license classes 17 years ago. NNNN /EX
Latest release: current version fldigi 4.0.9, flarq 4.3.6
September 3, 2017
Winlink Express may be used as a client for emergency communications. It has some special features for EmComm, such as HTML forms creation and compact, formless content transport, plus a growing library of automatically-updated, included forms to use. Before adopting Winlink Express as your program for EmComm, please check with your local EmComm group for their plans. This may be your ARES, RACES, ACS, SHARES or MARS organization that will be responsible for providing training and support.
System Requirements: Microsoft-supported 32 or 64 bit Windows OS (Windows Vista, Windows 7, 8, 10 or Windows 2003 Server, or later, or under Windows on Apple Mac and Linux machines using a VM engine or dual boot arrangement. Windows XP is not recommended or supported. The program makes minimal CPU demands with the exception of WINMOR operation. The heavy DSP demands of WINMOR require a computer of at least 700 MHz Pentium/Celeron class and at least 512 Meg of memory. It runs well on all modern computers and Windows tablets. If multiple applications are running concurrently, we recommend a fast computer with extra RAM.
Mesh Networking What is it and how can we use it?
Raspberry Pi and Arduino What are they? How Can they be used in Ham Radio? How can they be used in Emergency Communications?
Raspberry Pi Projects