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.
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:
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.
RI Section Emergency Coordinator
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
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).
Traffic nets handle formatted written messages between served agency locations or between other nets. In emergency operations, these nets may handle the majority of message originations and deliveries. Messages to or from outside the immediate area may be handled by a Section-level net, and depending on the distances involved and the degree to which the public telephone network and Internet are impaired, by Region Nets and Area Nets. Even if you expect to handle traffic primarily on VHF/UHF repeaters, understanding how these layers of nets operate will help you to optimize your use of the system. HF traffic nets can provide you additional practice and expose you to traffic handling that you might not encounter on VHF/UHF. During an emergency ARES and the National Traffic System (NTS) work together closely, so it’s a good idea to understand emergency traffic from the NTS operator’s perspective.
In general, the tactical net(s) handle the primary on-site emergency communications. Their mission may be handling communications for a served agency, weather monitoring and reporting, river gauging, or a variety of other tasks that do not require a formal written message. Often a tactical net may be set up as a “sub net” to handle specific types of traffic during high volume emergency situations. In such cases an additional NCS may be assigned for the sub net.
Health and Welfare (H&W) Nets
These nets usually handle messages between concerned friends, families and persons in the disaster area. Most H&W nets will be on HF bands, but local VHF or UHF “feeder” nets may be needed within a disaster area. Band conditions, operator license constraints and specific use needs will most always determine which mode may be the best choice for determining the mode of certain net operations.
When incoming operators arrive on scene this is the net that they would check into to receive assignments, or to be reassigned as needs change. A resource net may also be used to locate needed equipment, or operators with specific skills. Several different resource nets may be used in large-scale events. One might be used for collecting new volunteers over a wide area, and other local nets could be used for initial assignments. If required due to geography or high net activity, a third net could handle on-going logistical support needs.
Did you know?
The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) operates radio stations WWV from Ft. Collins, Colorado and WWVH from Kauai, Hawaii. WWV and WWVH broadcast time and frequency information on a 24/7 basis. Broadcast information includes time announcements, standard time intervals, standard frequencies, UT1 time corrections, a BCD time code, geophysical alerts, and marine storm warnings.
Each frequency carries the same information. Multiple frequencies are used because the quality of HF reception depends on many factors. WWV and WWVH broadcast on the frequencies listed in the table below, using double sideband, amplitude modulation.
The National Research Institute of Canada operates radio station CHU to disseminate the official time on a 24/7 basis. Each minute, CHU broadcasts time data on the frequencies listed below and includes: time of day (UTC), day of year (1-366), Gregorian year (4 digits), and additional time details. CHU broadcasts time codes using full-carrier upper-sideband modulation that can be read by a computer with a Bell 103 compatible modem.
WWV / WWVH Frequencies (MHz) CHU Frequencies (MHz)
20.0000 (WWV only)
To be of real use in ARES today, you should be familiar with the Incident Command System, and the National Incident Management System… this is how state and local emergency response groups deal with multi-agency involvement, and as we will be dealing in that way, we should be intimately familiar with the systems… Fortunately for us, the training in these systems is free of charge, available from FEMA…
While hams are not paid communications professionals, our behavior and skills should be nothing less. Little else damages our reputation like an unprofessional attitude. Volunteers of all kinds have a bad reputation for “wannabe” behavior and an inappropriate appearance. Police and fire personnel pride themselves on their professional look and demeanor, and they do not want volunteers to detract from that image or impede them in their work. Here are some suggestions:
• Know your place – you are not sworn police officers or firefighters
• You are there to meet THEIR needs, not yours
• They define their needs, not you
• Dress as they want you to – not as you would like to
• Most important, leave your ego at home. You are not in charge
I just wanted to give a shout out in spirit and with lots of Heart to Tom Senerchia, our Kent County DEC, who has been hospitalized and may be out of commission for some time. Please, all of us, keep Tom in your hearts and prayers.
Update 5/3: Our Kent County DEC, Tom Senerchia, KA1VAY, is now home dealing with Physical Therapy… this is good news… keep him in your thoughts.
RI Section Emergency Coordinator
A very Merry Christmas to all of you from Puerto Rico… at times like this, working a disaster in the holiday season, the importance of family hits home hard… enjoy yours this holiday season… many cannot…
May this season bring you all joy…