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.)


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.

Mark your calendar for the 2018 Tour de Cure

I am recruiting hams for the American Diabetes Association’s Tour de Cure bicycle ride on Sunday, June 03, 2018. Ham radio support of this event is vital to the safety of riders. We provide communications to and from the rest stops on the routes and along the routes. All routes begin and end at the Pharmacy building on the University of Rhode Island Kingstown Campus. The routes cover a large area, most of Washington county east of route 95. There are changes planned to the routes for this year and I will provide that information once the routes are finalized. They are also considering a 5K run /walk to run concurrently with the bike rides for this year.

The Tour de Cure is a daylong event beginning around 0530. Accommodations may be able to be made if you aren’t available for the whole day. Additional details will follow as they become finalized.

I am looking for 12 to 14 SAG vehicles with a ham and navigator, the navigator does not need to be a ham, for the 5 separate riding routes. Sag vehicles must have good mobile communications equipment. APRS capability is a definite plus.

I am also in need of hams for 7 rest stops for communication duties. There will be other volunteers at the rest stops to handle the rest stop duties. Rest Stops hams should have a good communications set up as well. A mobile radio with a good antenna is the best option but HTs with a good antenna will also work at some locations.

This is a great cause to support, showcase amateur radio capabilities, practice emergency skills and have fun. Diabetes is a disease in which the body does not produce or properly use insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is needed to convert sugar, starches and other food into energy needed for daily life. The cause of diabetes continues to be a mystery. Both genetics and environmental factors such as obesity and lack of exercise appear to play roles in the cause of type 2 diabetes. Nearly 29 million children and adults in this country are diagnosed with diabetes, so the mission of the ADA is an urgent one. Everything they do forms the underpinning for that mission: to prevent and cure diabetes and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes. The money from events like the Tour de Cure goes to support research and educational information.

Please let me know as soon as possible if you are available or not and if you would like to be a SAG or at a rest stop, I will do my best to accommodate your request. Please let me know what your communications equipment is, Mobile/HT/APRS etc., and your time availability. If you know anyone else that would like to help please have them contact me. If you aren’t available pass this request on to a ham you think may be interested.

Rhode Island Tour de Cure web site. There are/will be maps and other information for the rides on the site.

Volunteer Sign up link (Check the Ham box)

Jim Creamer
Westerly Amateur Radio Team
Washington County District Emergency Coordinator

VHF Emergency Practice Net

RI ARES will be commencing a monthly VHF emergency practice net every 3rd Tuesday of the month at 9pm following the Ocean State Emergency Communications Alliance Net on the KA1RCI repeater network. Once a month, we will have fun with various emergency scenarios and drills. All licensed hams are welcome. For more information, contact one of the ARES Leadership members.

Washington County
— District Emergency Coordinator : Jim KB1MAO
— Emergency Coordinator: John W1JPZ
— Emergency Coordinator: Scott WX1X
— Emergency Coordinator: Tim KB1UZD

Newport County
— District Emergency Coordinator: Paul N1PSX
— Emergency Coordinator: Chuck N1CKT
— Emergency Coordinator: Ted W1GRI

Kent County
— District Emergency Coordinator: Tom KA1VAY
— Looking for some ECs for Kent County; Let Paul N1PSX know if you are interested.

Providence County
–District Emergency Coordinator: Aaron KC1EPX
–Emergency Coordinator: Guenter KC1EPY
–Emergency Coordinator: Barry W1BSN

RI Skywarn Emergency Coordinator: Martin N1JMA

We look forward to hearing from you.