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Subj: ARES E-Letter February 20, 2019
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The ARES E-Letter February 20, 2019
Editor: Rick Palm, K1CE
- ARRL Board Meets in January: ARES Plan Adopted, National Traffic System
- Florida Emergency Communications Conference Features Major Exercise "Viral
- Editorial: Do Double Duty for Public Service and Personal Health
- Want to Make a Good Impression? Wear the Professional-Appearing ARES Polo
- Section News
- K1CE For a Final: Get a WinLink Call Sign and Operating Experience
ARES Briefs, Links
Cuban Amateurs Respond to Severe Tornado -- On January 27, radio amateurs in
Cuba's capital of Havana were keeping an eye on the weather. With a
low-pressure system in the Gulf of Mexico and cold front approaching, severe
weather resulted with conditions that deteriorated during the evening and
night hours. An F4 tornado hit Havana, the first tornado ever to hit the
city. "Once again, Amateur Radio operators proved how they could handle
emergency traffic during the severe weather event, when the 2G and 3G mobile
cellular phone systems collapsed due to damage and the excessive traffic
generated by the incident," Radio Havana's Arnie Coro, CO2KK, reported. More
ARRL Board Meets in January: ARES Plan Adopted, National Traffic System
The ARRL Board of Directors - the League's elected policymakers -- met in
formal session last month, taking significant actions of special interest to
ARES, NTS and other amateur emergency communications communities.
The chairman of the Public Service Enhancement Working Group (PSEWG), Great
Lakes Division Director Dale Williams, WA8EFK, updated the Board on how the
committee had incorporated comments gathered from last fall's survey into
its report and the new ARES Strategic Plan draft. The Board adopted the ARES
Plan as proposed by the PSEWG and recommended by its Programs and Services
Committee. The new, full ARES Plan can be viewed here.
Under the new plan, there are three ways to serve with commensurate levels
of training requirements that will allow ARES participants to enter the
program, and if they choose, migrate to higher levels of qualification and
service. Level 1 is the basic ARES level, with introductory training
conducted by the local ARES group to meet their needs and those of their
served agency or partners. This training could be formal or informal, and
would introduce the ARES participant to the fundamentals of emergency
communications and provide instruction on how participants are to conduct
themselves while serving in the field or otherwise activated. Participants
may elect to remain at this level, or any level, based upon the extent of
their desired ARES involvement.
Level 2 -- To qualify for this level, participants must complete the
following courses: ARRL's EC-001 Introduction to Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications (a no-cost program) and the now ubiquitous FEMA Independent
Study courses IS-100, IS-200, IS-700, and IS-800 that lend critical
knowledge for operating efficiently under the Incident Command System.
Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of training opportunities
available through partners to enhance their knowledge and skill set.
Level 3 -- The successful candidate will complete training that prepares
them to assume ARES leadership positions, including the key program
coordinators: the local/county Emergency Coordinator (EC), Assistant
District EC, District EC, Assistant SEC, and the Section Emergency
Coordinator. Leaders are required to complete ARRL's EC-016, Emergency
Communications for Management, and FEMA Professional Development Series
courses IS-120, IS-230, IS-240, IS-241, IS-242, IS-244, and IS-288, the Role
of Voluntary Organizations in Emergency Management. Participants also are
encouraged to complete the FEMA courses IS-300, and IS-400 should they be
Readers are encouraged to review the entire new plan, as it represents the
first major program changes in decades and will form the cornerstone for the
venerable ARES program going forward. PSEWG Chairman 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. The ARES
Plan, and the ARES program, must be able to evolve," he said, adding that
the emergency preparedness staff at ARRL headquarters will conduct an annual
ARES Review to insure continued program relevance. There is more discussion
of the new ARES Plan from ARRL Communications Manager David Isgur, N1RSN,
Wlliams noted that after finishing the ARES portion of its agenda, it will
move to work on aspects of the National Traffic System. The Board adopted a
resolution recognizing that the National Traffic System provides a large
corps of operators experienced in formal third party message handling and
routing procedures, dedicated to providing emergency communications via
radio. The Board noted that NTS uses all modes as appropriate and needed.
The Board affirmed ARRL support for the National Traffic System and all
amateurs involved in traffic handling, and their role as partners to ARES in
ARRL's public service toolkit. The Board recognized the role and value of
ARES and NTS in directly serving the public in addition to partnering with
In other actions, the Board created a committee to establish the
requirements for the ARRL's Emergency Preparedness Manager function. The
committee, to be known as the EmComm Manager Requirements Committee, was
charged with filing a final report two weeks before the Board reconvenes in
Florida Emergency Communications Conference Features Major Exercise "Viral
A highly successful, well-attended 2019 Florida Amateur Radio Emergency
Communications Conference was held February 2-3 on the campus of Santa Fe
College, in Gainesville. Numerous seminars were presented by leading subject
matter experts from across the state, many with recent experience in
responses to major hurricanes such as Hurricane Michael. The conference was
sponsored and conducted by the North Florida Amateur Radio Club, Santa Fe
Amateur Radio Society and Alachua county ARES. The stated conference goal
was "to improve citizen volunteer Amateur Radio emergency communications." A
two-hour full scale exercise galvanized the conferees on Saturday morning.
Following conferee registration and introductions, Joe Bassett, W1WCN,
presented on "Volunteer Ham Radio Team Building that Maximizes all
Volunteers." Bassett downplays the term "volunteer" in favor of recognition
of "call to service above self," something greater than merely volunteering.
"21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership," and "The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,"
Next was a discussion of the use of ICS forms for record-keeping and
management of deployments, and the introduction of the full scale exercise
using the Homeland Security Exercise and Evaluation Program (HSEEP) guiding
principles and FEMA standards with personal advice from former FEMA
Administrator Craig Fugate, KK4INZ.
Field Exercise Challenges Conferees
The group of 56 attendees was split into two strike teams with leaders
picked. Teams were then physically deployed to two locations, simulating
evacuation shelters, in the Gainesville area. Role playing shelter managers
were designated, along with an Incident Commander, Florida Statewide
Interoperability Coordinator (SWIC), and Florida Amateur Radio Point of
Contact (FARPOC) for communications with the State EOC in Tallahassee.
The "Viral Duo" scenario was a public health emergency -- an epidemic caused
by a virulent pathogenic virus -- and a computer virus that took down the
Internet on an overwhelming scale. The exercise gave the participants
opportunities to set-up antennas and use their radios in the field to report
and pass traffic between the two shelter sites and the command net control
station on the campus. Participants also had to fill out logs of activity,
check-in operators, log events, and messages, all using appropriate ICS forms.
Northern Florida Section Emergency Coordinator Karl Martin, KG4HBN, was
designated Logistics Chief and FARPOC, controlling the VHF/HF Command Net
and could communicate via WinLink, serving the strike teams at the shelters.
Communicators were presented with numerous exercise injects (simulated
problems/issues) during the course of the exercise with the teams having to
address them on the fly. One inject included repeaters going down requiring
moves to other repeaters and/or simplex channels. With the Internet down,
email messages with ICS forms attached were passed via HF and VHF packet and
At the conclusion of the two-hour exercise, a full scale exercise hot wash
was conducted. Discussion then continued on how to plan, create and execute
full scale exercises.
Section Emergency Coordinator Martin's message to the conferees included
this: "Hurricane Michael was a learning experience for everyone. The
operators during Michael did a fantastic job. People from all across Florida
came out to help. The Northern Florida Section was tasked to cover 30
shelters, county EOCs and the State EOC." An After Action Report was
published and Martin said an action plan will be ready in time for the 2019
A workshop was conducted on a simple Wi-Fi-based shelter bulletin system for
use by shelter residents to keep informed, using a Raspberry Pi and
inexpensive Wi-Fi home router that residents could connect to with
smartphones, tablets, and laptops. An introduction to media and public
relations was presented by ARRL Section Public Information Officer Scott
Roberts, KK4ECR. Other training workshops included traffic handling in ARES
nets, computer and Internet tips for emergency and disaster communications,
solar power systems, Powerpole© connector installation, and wiring radios
for Signalink and digital modes/devices.
Hands-on VHF/HF Go-Box construction and building rapidly deployable antennas
workshops were conducted in the main conference room and outside. A hands-on
WinLink training session was conducted by Gordon Gibby, KX4Z [see editorial
note at the end of this issue on my new experience with WinLink - Ed.] A
Solder Session was conducted with the project of building a digital
Alachua county EC Jeff Capehart, W4UFL, presented learning sessions on
working well with the EOC, and the new ARESConnect management system
currently being rolled out throughout the ARRL Field Organization.
The conference was rounded out with talks on the Neighborhood Ham Watch
program and "Teaching Ham Radio Courses using ARRL Slides." The conference
concluded on Sunday afternoon, with feedback forms filled out by conferees:
All were in agreement that the conference had been highly worthwhile and
effective in training and understanding of modern ARES support of partner
agencies under the Incident Command System umbrella that is now almost
all-encompassing in emergency management in this country.
Exercise After Action Report (AAR)
View the Florida conference exercise After Action Report and Improvement
Plan here. A bound print copy is available on Amazon here. Excellent
resources referenced at the conference include the following:
ú "The Blank Book," 2018 Alachua County Emergency Communications Reference
(2nd Ed.) contains blank ICS forms and other key forms of interest to active
radio amateur emergency communicators. Available at Amazon.
ú The proceedings of the 2018 Amateur Radio Emergency Communications
Symposium can be purchased on Amazon. It is expected that the proceedings
from the 2019 conference will also be available.
Editorial: Do Double Duty for Public Service and Personal Health
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports data that over one
third (39.8%) of US adults are obese [see CDC report]. The CDC says
Obesity-related conditions include heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes
and certain types of cancer, some of the leading causes of preventable death.
Here's something all of us can do for both public service and personal
health: combine your public event communications services with participation
in the event. For example, last May, the National Multiple Sclerosis
Society's Bike MS: Citrus Tour 2018 was run with the ARRL West Central
Florida Section amateurs providing communications support for the Support
and Gear (SAG) vehicles, bike mechanics and multiple rest stops. The
traditional model of Amateur Radio support is of deployment of operators to
ride in the SAG vehicles, shadow race officials, course and rest stop
coordinators, and other mission critical sites such as the start and
A potential new model of support would be to add radio operators on
bicycles, actually riding in the event, a win-win scenario: the event safety
committee gets more saturation of course situational awareness, and the
operators get a healthy dose of exercise, burning off the calories of the
doughnuts likely consumed at the pre-dawn briefing. (Check with your doctor
first, and start slowly at first). Check your Body Mass Index (BMI) by using
a BMI calculator from the National Institutes of Health.
Work on getting yourself in the healthy normal weight region of the BMI
tables -- feel better physically and mentally, and most importantly, enjoy
Amateur Radio for a lot longer in life. A great way to do it is by
encouraging yourself and fellow radio amateurs who provide Amateur Radio
communications at public events such as the Citrus Tour to fully engage in
the event as a participant, too. Do Double Duty: Radio and Ride! -- Rick
Palm, K1CE, Registered Nurse
Want to Make a Good Impression? Wear the Professional-Appearing ARES Polo
I attended the Florida Emergency Communications Conference recently and
noted a number of attendees wearing the ARES Polo shirt. It lent a
professional appearance for the wearer and for the conference over all. The
shirt works well with a clean and pressed set of khakis. Designed
specifically for public service and ARES volunteers, this sport polo
features the ARES logo on the front left chest. 60% polyester and 40%
cotton, lightweight with relaxed fit, wrinkle and shrink resistant. Color:
Navy. Sizes Small - 4XL. Available in the ARRL Store here. [I ordered mine
this week and will post a pic in next month's issue. - K1CE]
Arizona to Host AuxComm Training
Pima County Office of Emergency Management is hosting the Arizona Department
of Emergency and Military Affairs, Division of Emergency Management AuxComm
training course, March 23-24. Nearly all states/territories have
incorporated some level of participation by Amateur Radio auxiliary
communication operators into their tactical interoperable communications
planning and statewide communications interoperability planning. This course
focuses on auxiliary communications interoperability, the relationship
between the COML and the volunteer, EOC etiquette, on-the-air etiquette, FCC
rules and regulations, auxiliary communications training and planning, and
emergency communications deployment. It is intended to supplement and
standardize an operator's experience and knowledge of emergency Amateur
Radio communications in a public safety context. The course is two days long
(10 hours each day) and is limited to 30 students. Registration: This course
requires self-registration through the State's online registration system.
More info here, see newsletter page 11.
Sacramento Section CERT Training
Sacramento Metro Fire Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) will be
offering the FEMA CERT Basic Class over four sessions from March 7-16. The
class is a free 24 hour course for people who live or work in the area
served by Sac Metro Fire. The class trains participants in Disaster
Preparedness and Response Skills including Fire Safety, light Search and
Rescue, and disaster Medical Operations. Graduates of the course will be
better prepared to care for themselves, their family, and their community in
the event of a disaster, and will be eligible to volunteer as a member of
Sacramento Metro Fire Community Emergency Response Team. The class is only
offered twice a year, and fills up quickly. Article by AD6DM on FEMA CERT
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.
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