Oxford County ARES/CERT Newsletter
February 25, 2019
We have an upcoming meeting March 4th. It is important that if you can attend that you do attend. This is because the conference phone system has been not operational (and may still be.)
As the year progresses training and re-cert training will begin (some in the meetings, some on the net, and some with other groups. Many of us in the group have had the “required training” in the past. Many of us have had experience in radio that assist in emergency communications.
Unless you are training regularly skills diminish, this is just a statement of the human condition. How we train is how we will respond when the need is there.
In the email George W2GPJ sent out there were ARES attachments that when first read appear to be a significant amount of work. However if we work at these in a broken up and sequential order the “new” requirements will be accomplished.
I am currently updating the n1yis.org site to assist in these goals. If you need ICS courses I will be posting links there to make to sort these out easier. The ICS independent study courses can be done as a group in an after meeting session. Yes the tests are individually done but the coursework we can and should do together. This will allow us to work towards a common knowledge.
When this group was formed with Brad N1GZB leading, we had many people with different skill sets. The differences of the individuals in the group at that time allowed us to accomplish many things that needed to happen. Our differences made the group strong. Taking the course with Barbara (the ICS99) gave us a common set of goals, knowledge, and procedures to work together more effectively. Since that time we as a group have had more opportunities to train and have done so.
We can’t rest on our laurels though and training is exactly that. It is the physical and mental repetition to create positive habits on the radio. Contesting improves our ability to move messages efficiently and accurately. Participating in a net (like ARES, ECARES on 7.255 Mhz, Seagull, 12 County Nets) helps develop procedural skills to work on the air. Working with other Hams that have specialty in electronics, allows you to learn some ‘new’ in electronics.
Every now and again I have the opportunity to listen in to the Hospital Net. This is a great training opportunity! Thank you to all of you that are currently active in that net and making it work!!
ARES/CERT Communications Team
1. Attendee Sign In
2. Call to Order
3. Introduction of New Attendees
4. EMA Director Comments, Announcements, Requests – Allyson Hill
5. Projects Ongoing
i: Repeater Linking Project – Norm Clanton
ii: E-Newsletter – Wayne Strout
iii: Weekly ARES/CERT Net – George Jones
iv: State ARES News/Report – Bob Gould
v: HARP Net- Ted Baker
6. ARRL Newly Issued ARES Plan: Adoption and Implementation- All
7. Unscheduled matters -
Monthly Team Meeting
1900, March 4, 2019
LAST UPDATE 02/20/19
Exam information also available at:
Below you will find a list of EXAM and HAMFEST DATES. We will do our best to keep this list up-to-date. Please send along any additions and corrections to Joy Lynne Foss, Public Information Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Monday February 25th 5:00 pm University of Maine Orono Barrows Hall, Kepware Lab Room 225 Walk-in are welcome. Sponsor: University of Maine ARC Contact: Richard O. Eason 581-2242 email@example.com
Saturday, March 16th 9:00 am Machias Savings Bank 581 Wilson St Brewer Walk-ins are welcome Sponsor: Pine State Amt Radio Club Contact: Peter Bither 944-2616 firstname.lastname@example.org
Wednesday, March 20th 5:30 PM United Veterans of Maine 358 Washburn St Caribou. Pre-registration only ( www.k1uvm.us/testing.htm )Sponsor: United Veterans of Maine Contact: Brandin S. Hess (907) 987-6716 email@example.com
Saturday, March 30th 12:30pm Ramada Conference Center 490 Pleasant Street Lewiston. Please bring a photo ID and $15 for the exam. Walk-ins are welcome Sponsor: Androscoggin Amateur Radio Club Contact: Ivan Lazure, N1OXA at firstname.lastname@example.org, or 577-5152
UP COMING TESTING SESSIONS
These are tentative dates only. Please check with the contact person before traveling to verify date, time, location and exams being offered. Bring two forms of identification, including a photo I-D as well as the original and photocopies of all current FCC licenses and certificates of successful completion of exam. The photocopies will not be returned. Persons needing special accommodations should check with the contact person in advance of the exam date.
REMINDER -- When preparing for an exam, be sure you are studying the current question pool.
*Technician Class (Element 2) question pool has been in effect since July 1, 2018, and will be valid until June 30, 2021
**General Class (Element 3) question pool has been in effect since July 1, 2015, and will be valid until June 30, 2019.
***Amateur Extra Class (Element 4) question pool has been in effect since July 1, 2016, and will be valid until JUNE 30, 2020.
*****Web site addresses for today’s announcements are on the ARRL Maine Section Web Page as a Link for your convenience. www.arrl-me.org *****
GENERAL CLASS (Element 3) question pool valid until JUNE 30. 2019. You will need a new book as of July 1st.
CLUB MEETINGS COMING UP:
Androscoggin Amateur Radio Club Breakfast Wednesday February 27th 0700 EDT at Webster St, Conv and Deli, 715 Webster Street Lewiston
Waterville Area Wireless Association next meeting is Saturday March 2nd 9:00 am at the Winslow Library on Halifax Street 9am . Come and see what WAWA doing in 2019. For more information please call Weldon Black, KB1UPM at 873-3869.
ARRL National News:
K1CE For a Final: Get a WinLink Call Sign and Operating Experience
I attended the 2019 Florida Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Conference in Gainesville, February 2-3. There were many takeaways for the more than 50 conferees in attendance. Among the many for me, a major one was to more fully grasp the critical significance of the WinLink system as an emergency communications resource. It was at the center of the full scale exercise conducted Saturday morning.
WinLink is a worldwide radio email service that sends email where the Internet is down or not present. It can operate without the Internet--automatically--using a network radio relay station. Users can send email with attachments, position reporting, weather and information bulletins, highly useful in disaster response.
I found WinLink easy to use with my digital sound card interface (a West Mountain Radio Rigblaster Plug and Play), and HF rig. I registered for my WinLink call sign K1CE@winlink.org, downloaded the WinLink Express program, entered my basic data including grid square, and connected to a gateway station (KX4Z, on 80-meters USB) to send and receive email. Try it, you'll like it. Download WinLink Express here and get started.
There is a Florida WinLink Net, and each Monday, a special task is injected and newcomers to WinLink can gain experience.
New Plan Aligns ARES with the Needs of Served Agencies
The new ARES Plan adopted by the ARRL Board of Directors at its Annual Meeting in January represents an effort to provide ARES with a clearly defined mission, goals, and objectives; specific training requirements, and a system for consistent reporting and record-keeping. The Board's Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG) spent more than 3 years crafting the ARES Plan which, ARRL officials believe, provides a much-needed update of the program's role in public service and emergency preparedness in the 21st century. Concerns focused on bringing ARES into alignment with the National Incident Management System (NIMS) and Incident Command System (ICS), and creating more consistent and standardized ARES training requirements. Given dramatic changes and upgrades in national, regional, and local emergency and disaster response organizations, ARRL faced a major challenge, said ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK, who chaired the PSEWG.
"If we didn't address these issues, such as training standards and organizational management, ARES faced the very real possibility that it would no longer be viewed as a valid and valuable partner in emergency and disaster relief situations," Williams said.
With input from ARES members and a peer review team, and the assistance of emergency response officials with some partner organizations, the PSEWG came up with a plan that provides guidelines to ensure that ARES remains a service of organized, trained, qualified, and credentialed Amateur Radio volunteers who can provide public service partners with radio communication expertise, capability, and capacity, Williams added.
Training requirements in the final ARES Plan consist of the free FEMA Professional Development Series of independent study (IS) courses, as well as the ARRL's EC-001 and EC-016 emergency communication courses. The ARRL Board approved a proposal to make the ARRL EC courses free for ARES members.
The plan highlights some additional training programs that ARES participants are encouraged to consider taking, but that are not required, such as AUXCOMM and training courses like ICS-300 and ICS-400.
The ARES Plan outlines a three-tiered membership structure based on increased responsibility levels and accompanying training requirements. The optional tiered system serves to define three distinct ways to participate in the ARES program, leaving it up to participants to determine their level of involvement.
The ARES Plan points out that public service events such as parades and marathons are within the realm of ARES activity and are an integral part of effective training.
The Plan notes that training requirements are ultimately the responsibility of the Section Manager, with each SM approving training for local ARES teams, as local conditions and needs dictate.
ARRL Great Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK.
The ARES Plan also highlights the relationship between ARES and the National Traffic System (NTS).
Williams noted that, within the ARES structure, the Emergency Coordinator (EC) will continue to lead the ARES team locally during an incident, while the District and Section Emergency Coordinators will continue to serve as resources and support for the EC. The ARES Plan stresses that ARES participants are not first responders, and it encourages ARES leaders to develop and grow their group's partnerships with state emergency management agencies and officials. Williams said the adoption of the ARES Plan is not the end of this process.
"ARES cannot remain stagnant only to be updated once every few generations," he said. "The ARES Plan, and the ARES program, must be able to evolve." Williams added that the ARRL Headquarters emergency preparedness staff will review the program annually to ensure its continued relevance
Oxford ARES Meeting
February 4, 2019
1. State News- Bob Gould
a. N1SR Biweekly ARES Connect newsletter
2. Class in Rumford
a. George will be running
b. Starting Wednesday nights after school vacation Feb 27, 6:30 to 8:30
c. Region 9 building in Mexico
3. Interference for pager on 157.740Mhz
4. 146.910 machine had a bad can and it has been repaired but cans need to put back on Black Mt.
The meeting ended and adjourned to the radio room at the EMA. Measurement of feedlines were taken and some radios were connected. More work to be done.
Cushcraft R7 and the Hustler 5-BTV
Welcome everyone to the W1OCA, Oxford ARES/CERT Comm Newsletter! We have many events coming up in the next two months so please check the schedule of Upcoming events.
The two vertical antennas above I will attempt to have a comparison from Field Day to the end of the summer for use in the field. The R7 is the Oxford ARES/CERT antenna we used in Sumner ARRL Field Day last year. I hope to have the weekend free this year to work with it again and compare it to the 5-BTV for reception and transmission qualities. Hopefully we can also compare with different antennas that Norm KA1SG and others in the group will have along.
NOTES From the State of Maine:
Some of you will remember the training materials that were used and supported in Maine ARES up until around 2010. The basis for those training materials was the work of Colorado ham Pat Lambert W0IPL and they found their way around the USA and also became the basis for the ARRL EC-001 course. Pat's web page is at http://www.w0ipl.net/ECom/ The course material is pretty stable but it has been updated as needed. The most recent update is 2012. Pat has allowed the free use of these courses providing that they are used without any associated fees and give proper attribution.
In a recent discussion with Charles Hargrove N2NOV, he mentioned that his group is using the tests. Charles is president of New York City Amateur Radio Emergency Communications Service (NYC-ARECS). He is also net manager for the NY-NBEMS net. The group's home page is at http://www.nyc-arecs.org
The NYC-ARECS tests may be seen at http://www.nyc-arecs.org/training_2018.html . They include Emcomm Introduction, Emcomm Levels I and II and Emcomm NCS (Level III).
The interesting thing about Charles' implementation is that the tests (which he developed) are formatted as web forms. You take the test on line and then click submit. The answer sheet is then emailed to Charles for scoring.
You can view the tests on the training page. I'd suggest you not click "submit" unless you want to become a member of NYC-ARECS.
Charles is fine with us adopting his test materials and has also provided the answer sheets to me.
In thinking about offering this for Maine Emcomm hams, I'm thinking of making the tests into flmsg custom forms. This has several advantages over using a web form:
It avoids having to have a web host for the forms.This generally involves $$ if hosting multiple forms.
Flmsg is a standard radio communications tool so it provides some practice in the use of flmsg.
The test doesn't have to be taken in one sitting. Since it's all on your computer, you can set it aside for a day or a week and then come back to it.
When finished, email the file to a person on the TBD exam team.
I've converted the Emcomm Introduction to a flmsg form and a few members of the Knox and Waldo County ARES/RACES teams have taken the test. That uncovered a few glitches in my coding which are now hopefully fixed. We also found out that flmsg won't run on a Windows 98 computer :-). Conversion of the other tests should be fairly straightforward.
There are some questions that are sort of NYC specific and those should be adjusted. Also, there's nothing saying we couldn't change a few questions.
I would like feedback from the folks on the distribution about using these materials in Maine. Please review the course content and the questions and provide feedback by the end of May.
73, Steve KB1TCE
NOTES From Oxford County
Results of Mexico VE Exams 9 May 2018
Five People took exams, going in WITHOUT any license.
All earned tickets
Good job Norm and George
David Lowe WE1U
May 9 Hospital Test
I checked into the net at 4 p.m. from Stephens Memorial with net
control Ed kb1wdl at Rumford Hospital. There were no other checkins.
It was difficult to hear the audio over the electrical noise. There
was noise on the Rumford end also. We had a bed count that was not
I have not received the "Hicks forms" yet for posting on the web site.
The room had no furniture left, just the radio equipment on the
counter. Different furniture is coming soon. The room will become the
office of Ryan Knapp the new chief of Emergency Services.
73 Dick n1nyw
Thank you for taking the time to check in on yesterday's HARP net. Please mark your calendars for Wednesday, May 2 and Wednesday, May 9 for the next scheduled HARP nets on the Mt. Washington repeater (146.655MHz).
Yesterday's roll call:
Rumford Hospital, Rumford, ME; NCS, Ted Baker KB1WDL, Norm Clanton KA1SG, George Nickerson KC1GHY
Central Maine Medical Center, Lewiston, ME; Bill Woodhead N1KAT
St Mary's Regional Medical Center, Lewiston, ME; Ivan Lazure N1OXA
Lakes Region General Hospital, Laconia, NH; Bob NacGuffie K2HZN
Androscoggin County EMA, Lewiston, ME; Tim Bubier WT1A
Norm, George and I were conducting the net from Rumford Hospital on a 2m rig suffering from an acute case of deafness. It seems that the wide band filters on the station's Kenwood TM-D710 have failed making it very difficult is not impossible to copy traffic. So my apologies for often asking transmissions to be repeated. The issue of these filters failing is well documented on the Internet and we are hopeful that we can effect repairs in the near future.
For the net on May 2, I will be operating the net from the Adroscoggin Valley Hospital in Berlin, NH. The format for the net will be to start off with a voice call and check in and then follow with some training in passing digital traffic. If you have the time, please browse on over the following link:
and take a look at the HARP Operations Manual. There is also some excellent guidance for setting up to work digital traffic using the fldigi suite of software.
Please pass the word to other hams who might be interested in joining the net, especially if they can operate from their local medical facility.
/73 Ted Baker, KB1WDL
The next HARP net will be this coming Wednesday, May 9, at 16:00 using the Mt. Washington repeater (146.655MHz).
If you have the opportunity to activate your local health care facility ham radio station your participation on the net will be greatly appreciated. Participation from other locations is also encouraged so please pass the word to other hams.
Net control (NCS) will be Rumford Hospital (KB1WDL). Backup net control will be Weeks Medical Center (N1GB).
This being the second Wednesday of the month means that HARP will be operating only the Mt. Washington repeater (146.655MHz)
Voice-only stations may sign-off,
Training - digital message traffic - testing FLDIGI connectivity,
Training - digital message traffic,
Current (2nd quarter, 2018) HARP standard versions for the FLDIGI suite of software are:
fldigi - 4.0.16,
flwrap - 1.3.5,
flmsg - 4.0.6,
flamp - 2.2.03.
The link to the current HARP standard versions of FLDIGI tools is at http://gblakesl.net/N1GB/N1GB_HARP.html.
Upcoming HARP nets on the Mt. Washington repeater:
Wednesday, June 6, 2018,
Wednesday, June 13, 2018.
/73 Ted Baker, KB1WDL