QST: What’s happening in RI ARES?

We are encouraging everyone to join our Groups.io list. Information and discussion are more easily searched, archived, etc. https://groups.io/g/RI-ARES/

ARES Connect is our system for tracking membership. You can use it to track your participation in events and nets as well as to track any training you have received. This will be the tool we use to report our activities to the ARRL going forward, so your participation in tracking those hours is appreciated. http://ri.arrl.volunteerhub.com/

We are looking for Net Control Operators. It’s good practice for the kinds of radio operations we might be called on to provide. If you’d like to try your hand at net control for on of our Tuesday evening nets let us know. Net Control Operators can be in the regular rotation or can serve occasionally or as fill ins.

New information is being added to our Files section all the time. Be sure to check it out and see if there’s something there you find interesting.

DoD Mars Exercise

There is a challenging opportunity coming up that will allow RI ARES members the chance to participate in a national DoD MARS exercise, using military digital communications of the 60 meter shared amateur and government frequency “channels” and contacting DoD MARS stations directly. The following sections are excerpted from the operations order:

“This is an Army and AF MARS coordinated order.

MARS trains quarterly to support National military requirements. The exercises for each year conclude in a cap-stone exercise that builds on the experiences of the previous exercises each year. The fourth quarter exercise also focuses on coordinating activities with Amateur Radio.”

“Throughout the period prior to the DOD COMEX, the RJMOG (Regional Joint MARS Operations Group) shall coordinate with any local Amateur Radio Simulated Emergency Tests (SET) that may be occurring in each Region, conduct RF tests on 60 meters, VHF/UHF and 80/75 meters.”

“At the start of the DOD COMEX, The RJMOG shall complete a call up of all local Amateur Radio ARES and RACES points of contact in each Region and State, and inform of these contacts of the related objectives in the COMEX.”

“During the DOD COMEX, the RJMOG shall assign MARS members to prepare local amateur radio communities to receive DoD data broadcasts on both 60 meters and WWV in last days of COMEX. Coordinate in person and telephone technical support sessions to install, configure, tune and test the MS-DMT software at Amateur Radio stations. Conduct two way Plain Text (PT) tests with Amateur Radio using MIL-STD 188-110A Serial PSK waveform on 60 meters. Note that the 300 baud symbol rate restriction in 47CFR 97.307(3) does not apply to Amateur Radio use of the 60 meter band, and the Serial PSK waveform conforms to 2K80J2D when transmitted as audio through a 2.8 KHz Single Side Band filter.”

“Phase 3 is characterized by on-going Amateur Radio coordination and support. MARS at Region, State and Local levels will interface directly with Amateur Radio clubs, organizations and individually to facilitate two way information flow. Phase 3 includes individual MARS members providing individual Amateur Radio operators technical support to receive DoD broadcasts using Mil-STD Serial PSK. Phase 4 follows DoD voice and text broadcasts, and focus on county reports and other information products. MARS stations will reach out to amateurs on 75, 60 and 40 meters, VHF and UHF bands, primarily making use of existing Amateur Radio nets, except on 60 meters where MARS will be available for Amateurs to call.”

“Phase 3

6 NOV 1201Z through 17 NOV 0300Z ? Sustained Operations Phase 

Phase 4

17 NOV 0301Z through 17 NOV 0330Z ? DoD Digital Broadcast 

17 NOV 0331Z through 18 NOV 2359Z ? 60M Amateur to MARS reporting 

18 NOV 2359Z ENDEX.”

RI ARES members can install and test free MIL STD 188-110A PSK soundcard software to prepare top receive DoD broadcasts on select 60M channels. In addition, there will be DoD voice broadcasts on WWV. Previously these voice announcements have been at 10 minutes past each hour on WWV.

As noted, MARS members, who are all licensed amateur radio operators, will establish contact on existing amateur radio nets and frequencies using their amateur callsigns. MARS members may be requesting status information regarding infrastructure and public services. However, because the 60 meter channels are shared by both DoD and amateur services, MARS members will communicate with amateur radio operators using their MARS callsigns. This operation is approved by FCC during the COMEX.

ARMY MARS (www.usarmymars.org) provides free soundcard software to amateur radio operators so that amateur radio operators may receive MIL STD 188-110A unencrypted (PLAIN TEXT or PT) messages from military stations, including MARS stations.

The direct link to the Google drive location for this software is: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1pYDj7kQbm-QAyY4RPtx0dOXKohjaEjq9

The soundcard software modem (MS-DMT) is currently available in 32-bit (x86) version, and I suspect a 64-bit version will not be released in time for the COMEX. In order to use MS-DMT, you will need a soundcard interface between your radio and computer, such as the Signallink. If you are already operating using soundcard digital amateur modes, such as PSK-31, you should have the hardware you will need. Although MS-DMT provides a simple terminal capability, a more fully featured M110Terminal program is also provided, which can be linked to MS-DMT through a virtual serial port.

Free virtual serial port (null modem) software is available here:

http://www.eterlogic.com/Products.VSPE.html (the 32-bit version is free.)

http://com0com.sourceforge.net/

RI ARES members may contact Matt Hackman/KB1FUP for assistance in setting up the MS-DMT and M110Terminal software:

Beavertail Lighthouse Activation and Picnic

RI ARES will be hosting a picnic/general membership meeting and HF activation at Beavertail Lighthouse on July 20th, Saturday, from 10am till 4:30pm. Last year we had 35 members attend. The event is fun, and good for the whole family. We have a tent and canopy for the radio station and food etc.

This is our 2nd Annual activation. We hope to make this a yearly event.

Please RSVP to info@riares.org to let us know if you can make it.

RI ARES & 2019 NOAA/NWS/NHC Hurricane Awareness Tour

This past Monday, May 6th, saw the most recent Hurricane Awareness Tour sponsored by the National Hurricane Center, The National Weather Service, and several others. Many agencies and NGOs supported the event, from the American Red Cross to the RI Emergency Management Agency and FEMA.

Rhode Island Amateur Radio Emergency Service (ARES) provided logistical communications support for the event, providing 18 radio communicators, VHF radio communications stations and an HF radio station for communications with the National Hurricane Center in Florida. RI ARES was in turn supplemented and supported by the Eastern MA ARES team.

The event went well, and the P3 and C-130 aircraft were a big hit with school kids and the general public. The day started off a bit misty and cloudy, but warmed up by noon and the sun came through for making a beautiful afternoon. I don’t know if an actual head count is available, but I am safe in saying there were several hundreds of visitors to the event.

Winter Field Day

RI ARES had planned to do a Winter Field Day in cooperation with the RI EMA. Unfortunately one of the RI EMA Emergency Communications Command Post vehicles is out for repair and they cannot spare a vehicle for our exercise. As such, we will not be hosting a Winter Field Day event this year. Plans are in the works to set something up for Field Day in June.

That said, there are several other groups holding Winter Field Day this year in Rhode Island. If you want to participate, get in touch with them and see if they could use your help!

KC1CUE – Coventry RI Emergency Management Agency

W1SYE – Newport County Radio Club

W1OP – Providence Radio Association

If you know of another event to add to this list, email k1jst@riares.org

RI ARES VHF Nets

As many of you may knw, the NB1RI (KA1RCI) Repeater Network links have been down for some time. This limits our ability to do a statewide net. As an interim solution some of the ARES leadership have been running nets on some of the standalone NB1RI repeaters. On the 2nd, 4th and 5th Tuesday of the month at 7:00pm tune in to a repeater near you and if you hear a net, check in!

Some of the machines we try to activate are Cumberland 147.170, Westerly 147.390, Exeter 146.985, and Portsmouth 147.075. If you want to help by becoming a Net Control station get in touch with your local RI ARES coordinator.

Surftown Half Marathon September 9th 2018

September is fast approaching with a large event here in Westerly, the Surftown Half Marathon and 5K.

The Hartford Marathon Foundation, Inc. is a not for profit organization whose mission is to encourage individuals and families to adopt and maintain a healthy and active lifestyle. The organization promotes fitness to all ages and all abilities through community running events, school based programs and community collaborations. The Hartford Marathon Foundation coordinates the Surftown as well as many other events in Connecticut and Rhode Island. Their mission is to organize programs and events that promote health, fitness and enjoyment for participants of all ages and experience levels. Over 70,000 people participate annually in HMF events. Since 1994, the HMF has injected over $105 million for dozens of community charities. Since 1998, over 10,000 adults and children have participated in Hartford Marathon Foundation Training programs designed to help people begin or build a running or walking program.

Running along the ocean front streets of Misquamicut Beach and Watch Hill, RI, the Surftown Half Marathon is a spectacular beach race featuring stunning ocean views! Fast and flat, the 13.1 mile half marathon is a great destination race with live entertainment on the course, pace teams and a well-marked route with timing clocks, fluid stations and support on the course. The Surftown Half Marathon is a favorite of many runners, about 2,800 every year,

This is a large event and requires a substantial number of hams. Non hams are welcome also because they are a great help to the hams providing the communications.

If you are interested in helping out, please contact:

Jim Creamer KB1MAO
Westerly Amateur Radio Team
Washington County District Emergency Coordinator

Beavertail Lighthouse Event a Success!

I would like to thank all those who contributed to the success of the Beavertail Lighthouse general membership picnic, activation and demonstration of tech event yesterday, Saturday the 21st of July. We had about 30 people visit and participate throughout the day, including some children!

The weather was good, but quite breezy. Beautiful day in fact. We had 2 well equipped and designed Go Boxes set up, an HF station on 20m running, and a MESH node to demo. Everything was run on solar power with batteries.

We had food contributed by the membership, and it was all very good! So we ate well too.
Very Special thanks to the following for outstanding efforts in helping to make this happen:
Steve KC1AQQ
Jim KB1MAO
Mark KB1UHA
Marty WA1VIN
Tim KB1UZD
Barry W1BSN
Bob W1YRC
Mike K1NPT
Bob WB4SON
Thanks to all of you, and to all who attended and made the event a good one.
We look forward to Winter Field Day in January, and a social event perhaps for Christmas time.
Thanks all,
Paul N1PSX
RI Section Emergency Coordinator

MS Society Ride the Rhode Event

We need amateur radio volunteers for the MS Society Ride the Rhode Event on June 9 and 10.

We need amateurs to provide communications and tracking from each of the SAG wagons on Sat and Sunday and we need personnel to support net control. We would like at least 8 amateurs for SAG wagons on Sat and Sun.

We will be providing:

1) Equipment for net control

2) D72A APRS/transceivers with magmount antenna and power adapters for each of the SAG wagons

This is one of the more extensive uses of APRS in the area and is an excellent opportunity to practice communications and asset accountability training for emergencies.

We especially need volunteers for Saturday June 9.

If you can help please contact:

Don Rolph AB1PH
email: don.rolph at gmail.com

NVIS

http://www.arrl.org/…/f…/EC-016-Course/NVIS-Pion%20KK7XO.pdf

Near vertical incidence skywave, or NVIS, is a skywave radio-wave propagation path that provides usable signals in the range between groundwave and conventional skywave distances—usually 30–400 miles (50–650 km). It is used for military and paramilitary communications, broadcasting, especially in the tropics, and by radio amateurs. The radio waves travel near-vertically upwards into the ionosphere, where they are refracted back down and can be received within a circular region up to 650 km from the transmitter. If the frequency is too high (that is, above the critical frequency of the ionospheric F layer), refraction fails to occur and if it is too low, absorption in the ionospheric D layer may reduce the signal strength. There is no fundamental difference between NVIS and conventional skywave propagation; the practical distinction arises solely from different desirable radiation patterns of the antennas (near vertical for NVIS, near horizontal for conventional long-range skywave propagation).